Monday, April 29, 2013

My walk~ It seems I forgot to post this. . .

I went on a walk, on Earth Day, and to test I theory I didn’t ramble in the woods, I rambled in a neighborhood instead, to see what “wilderness” I might find.  I took to the concept of removing myself from the familiar a little too literally, as I had no idea where I was going.  Nonetheless, I made it back in one piece and saw some interesting sights.

The part that sticks out most vividly in my mind is staring at the yards and exteriors of the houses.  Being spring, a lot of houses have flowers outside, either intentionally, or as rashes of yellow and purple wildflowers.  The unintended flowers were in some cases as pretty to me as the carefully planned aesthetically pleasing landscaping located outside of some of the homes.

The visual that provided the most reflection for me was a beautifully crafted yard full of all different shades of purple flowers- in the trees, on the lawn, in the window boxes, hanging in baskets.  Purple was everywhere!  However, I saw a humorous sight among one of the well-dressed flowerbeds, among some purple irises.  Despite the gardener’s best laid plans, a yellow iris and a white iris had bloomed, breaking the blanket of purple.

It just really struck me that despite our attempts to shape nature and make Her our own, the wild and untamed nature of a world shaped by something bigger than we are will always push through. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog #12: The Fountain of Youth?

This is the Grand Prismatic Spring, located in Yellowstone National Park.  This hot spring gets its unique color from the bacteria growing inside it.

If the fountain of youth did exist then this is what I would expect it to look like.  The iridescent water looks like something from out of this world, not alien but something heavenly.  When most people think of bacteria, disease, sickness, and degradation come to mind.  Many people would be surprised that bacteria could produce something so beautiful and heavenly.  Showing us once again how nature can craft things beyond human imagination.

Blog #11: Spirit Walk on TMC Campus

I took my spirit walk yesterday on Saturday the 4/27/2013,

I wanted to wait and use it as a break from studying from the 4 back to back finals I have on Monday.  I also wanted to make sure I did not have any commitments so that I would feel forced to fit my walk into a preset time frame.  This allowed me to make sure I could use as much time I was wanted to be guided by nature.

In the end my walk lasted one and a half hours.  I started off by walking out of my dorm and was drawn in by the pound next to student parking. My freshmen dorm actually had a nice view of the pound, I stood there for a bit remembering waking up in the morning then looking out the window to see the weather, along with all my other freshmen memories.  I traveled up to the observatory and got a good look at the campus, remembering how something so familiar use to be so foreign.  I traveled to the woods behind the parking lot and enjoyed the branch sculptures.  This reminded me of all the art work I had done in the past.

In the end I walked back to my room and over an hour had past by, but then again you never know how long those tour guides are going to drive you around.

Blog #10: Lanscape in Video Games Part 4

Minecraft will be the last video game I talk about.

This game takes a unique approach to the environmental Aesthetics as well.  In this game one uses the resources given to them in the natural environment to craft their own creations within the natural world.  This provides a unique Aesthetic experience when one has to consciously think about how their use of the environment will be best used to create a new artificially constructed environment.

It is a very interesting way to think of environmental aesthetics.  How will one use the environment around them in order to create a new environment.  In the end this is how humanity actually uses the environment to construct our world.  It is a very unique way to make one more aware of how our world is constructed from the environment.

Blog 12

On this last blog I would like to discuss my reaction to the course:

During this course I was able to reflect on my personal feelings and appreciation for nature. Unlike some some of the philosophers that we learned about, I feel as though one does not need a scientific sense of knowledge in order to really appreciate nature. Ones appreciation is something that is unique and should not be based on something like the teachings of science. Ultimately, this thought is something that i will take with me after graduation. It will also force me to think of this type of philosophy when I'm in a natural environment. Overall, I liked the course a lot and enjoyed most of the films that were shown.

Blog 11

In this blog i would like to talk about the Johnny Depp movie that we watched in class.

The movie seemed to be very interesting! It was intriguing to see the changing of the landscape across the country as he traveled by train to another destination. The individual on the train also seemed to change depending on where he was in the country as well. The landscapes seemed to be indicative of the people that inhabited the lands (i.e. teepees suggesting the presence of Indians).

Overall, I like the film and it was very applicable to this environmental aesthetics class.

Blog 10 "Sauntering"

Today I did a little walking around the campus of TMC, one would maybe even call it sauntering. With this walk I was able to just enjoy the weather despite the rainstorm that would be pushing through at any moment. This was the first time all semester that I was walking without a purpose, without any hurry. I was able to enjoy the sounds of birds and the gentle breeze. I even was able to view the arboretum that we have on campus which I have never been able to fully view over the four years that I have been at TMC.

Overall, the walk was very much needed and relaxing during this last week of my senior year.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blog 9

Henry Bugbee Pages 92-95:

These were the pages that I chose to present on during class. Just a recap of my presentation, I talked in length about the waves a Che Kiang and how "matter of fact" they look. This matter of fact thinking was much of a realization for most people. Overall these pages were very interesting and even relatively easy to present.

Blog 8

Kestrel Movie:

This movie was very interesting and showed a lot about the life cycle of the Kestrel. Many of the scenes in the movie were entertaining however this movie is not one that I particularly would watch had I not been in this aesthetics class. I personally feel that this movie is not my "cup of tea" and that it could have been a better film had some narration been implemented. The overall experience of watching the movie was somewhat positive.

Blog #7

In this blog I would like to discuss a quote mentioned by Carlson in Chapter 17 of Nature, Aesthetic and Environmentalism.

"A more correct categorization in science is one that over time makes the natural world seem more intelligible , more comprehensible to those whose science it is. Our science appeals to certain kinds of qualities to accomplish this. These qualities are ones such as order, regularity, harmony, balance, tension, conflict, resolution and so forth."

This quote really seems to appeal to me because being an environmental science major I can really agree with this statement. Also these qualities are accurate in terms of things that our science appeals to.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sauntering (blog 11)

So, I have yet had the chance to really "saunter" with as much time I've been spending in the art department getting all my stuff done and ready for finals as well as trying to get a bunch of long ass papers completed for other classes, but I plan to do my sauntering this weekend by going to Red River Gorge. I've never been there, so every step I take will be just a piece in my unplanned journey. I have absolutely no idea what awaits me there but I will be finding out quite soon!
I have come close to putting aside time to try taking my journey now before the last day of class but just like Ashley explained no matter where I go here I have an ultimate destination either way, for me if I just walked out the door right now the path guiding me would be the road and my final destination would be right back here to my house. Going to RRG with my boyfriend will be an interesting experience because I've never been camping anywhere other than in a camper and I have no idea if I'm parking my car somewhere and we're walking to another location to camp out or if I'm driving my car to the spot? I have no idea! I can't wait for my adventure though, it's exciting.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog 11: On Sauntering

As I was walking around and thinking about the "assignment," I got to thinking about "sauntering" and what it means to saunter as opposed to walking. Sauntering is sort of an aimless wandering, where you engage with nature and don't really have a specific destination in mind. But as I was doing this Monday, I got the feeling that I wasn't really sauntering at all.

I came to the conclusion that I think sauntering implies sort of going "off the beaten path." As I was on a walking trail, my path was actually guided. Can you really call this a saunter? Every time we walk or saunter anywhere, we always have an ultimate destination in mind and in a round about way the steps we take get us there. For me, this destination was the car. So anywhere I went, the steps I was taking were ultimately guiding me back to that place. Therefore, any kind of conformist path we might take immediately precludes sauntering. I did briefly contemplate stepping off the path and making my own way through the woods, but I have an intense allergy to poison ivy and other things so that was really out of the question.

If we really want to saunter, we have to actually get lost in nature... Perhaps go somewhere we've never been, in the middle of nowhere, and just wander around with no paths to guide the way. This is true sauntering, although I'm not sure it's a feasible thing for any of us to really do as it seems dangerous to basically get lost in nature. But as far as I can tell, this is really the true meaning of what it is to "saunter." I don't think I sauntered on Monday, I took a walk. Although it was certainly more engaging than any walk I've taken in a very long time.

Blog 10: Sauntering

Though I'm posting this a few days late, I did take a "saunter" on Monday after work. I feel like there aren't many places on TMC's campus to really get away from it all so to speak, so instead I took my dog with me and went to Mills Road Park Monday evening. I had never been there before, but I knew there were supposedly some decent walking trails.

I was pretty surprised, not just by the trails (which weren't too bad) but by the overall experience. I put my phone on silent (ideally, I probably wouldn't have brought it at all but being alone in the woods I thought that a bad idea.) I tried to clear my mind, and walk around just engaged with nature and what was going on around me. As Bugbee said, you really kind of have to be the tree to understand the tree. I felt like I really connected to nature, and being super stressed lately I really felt like it relieved a lot of that in a way similar to what exercise does.

Also, I found a bridge while I was walking and took a picture, since I did still have my phone. There were a few ducks in the pond on the left side at the front, but I don't think you can tell from the picture.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bugbee's final pages

                The last three blogs of Bugbee were November 2nd, 3rd and 5th.  On the first date, he discusses bells and the sounds they make.  He reflects on a bell at his college which would ring at the beginning and end of classes.  Other bells, however, don’t have such meanings, signify nothing in particular and are more random.  He then talks about the sounds that occur in Taxco, much of them being bells.  He says the sounds here remind him of nature and even says, “Even the fireworks seem natural there.”  I think that the sounds of nature is something that hasn't really been discussed much, but are a significant part of being immersed in nature. 
                The next two days tied in together I think.  First he discusses finality.  I believe he was trying to say that one can come to conclusions.  The conclusions will be proper if made using proper technique in which one observes all aspects.  He is cautioning, however, against one getting stuck in that conclusion and being closed minded.  Even if one has a certain view, they should still be open to other view points and new meanings/understandings.  He then goes into how he has more of an urge to study now as opposed to write.  His final sentence of the book was   “I am not content with what I have worked out; but I have worked out enough, perhaps, to be content to consider more carefully as I move along, and to welcome all manner of thinking other than my own.”    I believe this sentence ties into what he was saying about finality and conclusions.  While he is considering himself finished, as he has accomplished his goal, he is still not set in stone on the conclusions that he has made.  He also believes that in writing this, he has come to be better at thinking outside of his own conclusions and accepting other ways of thinking.  I think this is very important for all people to do as well.  One can learn and experience so much more if they are open minded. 

Extra Blog: My "Aimless" Walk

So, I almost forgot to do this after I left class yesterday, but I am happy to report that I did indeed take an "aimless" walk around the grounds of my home when I got home. I think it is somewhat humorous to call it "aimless" considering I basically planned to do it at some point. I did not, however, have any idea what time I was going to do it, so I guess that was a good thing. Anyway, on to what happened on my walk.

I was walking around the field behind my house on my family's farm and I started again to think about the end of life. I'm not sure why my mind went here, but I went with it. Something just wandering causes my mind to get onto the subject of the end of life and how I can prepare for it. This got me back to thinking about my faith and how I view the end of life. Long story short, I feel that the end of life will bring a sweet release after a lifetime of living in a fallen world. Just like a feel a sort of release, on a much smaller scale, when I walk in nature.

Well, that was my experience. I hope it wasn't too boring.

Sauntering (Blog 10)

Honestly when we were told to "saunter" it was the easiest assignment I've ever been assigned because I do it all the time already.  I think it clears your mind in meditation but can also leads to further reflections or thought.  Furthermore,  just because you are "familiar" with a place doesn't mean you can't experience something new and exciting each time you visit it!  For instance, last week I sauntered and for the first time in the 20 YEARS of my life I actually found a four leaf clover...only this time I wasn't really searching for it like I have done for years.  My eyes kind of fell upon it.  It looked like this:

Sometimes I feel like when you are not severely looking for things they can just appear to you.  Does anyone else feel this way?  I am still so excited I found it...I have it preserved in one of my heavier books so I can keep it and I'm really hoping it brings me luck in Finals Week :p

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bugbee pages 131-152

      In this section of Bugbee,  he discusses on one of the main topics of the book which is the need for experience.  Bugbee saw the need for experience as one of the priorities of life because without experience, nothing can be truly learned.  After an experience, one has a response.  This response is what will lead to the development of a meaning.  This meaning is what we take with us and can apply to our lives.  It is this meaning that creates our thoughts about the original experience.  So without experience, one can never lead to any type of thought about such a thing.  As Bugbee says, "Even when we are referring to the course of events, much or our invocation of the category of necessity has to do with our mode of response in the situation admitting of that reference. " 

Bugbee pages 75-95

        In this section of Bugbee, one of the main topics he talks about is the ego.  He doesn't see the ego as a good thing, but instead, he sees it as something to overcome.  He took this quote from Marcel, "Burdened with myself, plunged in this disturbing world, Sometimes my accomplice, I keep an eager look out for everything emanating from it which it might either sooth or ulcerate the wound I bear within me, which is my ego."   One way to overcome it, he says is through understanding individuality and universality.  These can both be learned in experience.   He says, "once again, the ideas of individuality an universality come back to me, hand in hand."  

Spontaneous Walk

                Today I went and worked a catering at Playhouse in the Park.  Afterwards, I was cleaning up and was thinking about all the homework I had to do.  Then I remembered the spontaneous walk.  I decided to do it after I was finished and wonder around the area.  If anyone is familiar with Eden park, this is the area.   It was a beautiful day out for a walk, and the amount of people walking around the area confirmed that I wasn't the only one who thought this.   I started a little down from Playhouse in the Park and walked around a fountain.   Then I went up a hill by the Krohn conservatory.  There were many trees and flowers all over.  Then I went over to this lookout area where you can see over the river and see Northern Kentucky. 
                While this walk was spontaneous and was intriguing, as I haven't walked over there in a while, I don't think it quiet counted as sauntering.  I never at any point lost track of where I was.  I also stayed on paths the whole time as well.  Buildings and cars were also in view, which isn't true nature because it isn't untouched by nature.  But being Earth Day and all, I do think it was a nice way to spend some time with nature.

Some pictures I took:


Blog 1

     Hi I am Mason Lovelace. I transferred to Thomas more this semester from Notre dame college in Cleveland Ohio. I play soccer for Thomas more college. As of now I am majoring in business and then once I receive a degree in business I plan on going on to get my mechanics certificate and hopefully opening up my own business.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog #12: Last Blog of the Semester

As this is the last time I will be posting I guess I will rehash some of the things that I experienced over the course of the semester that really engaged my mind and made me think.

The first thing that has stuck with me throughout the semester is pondering on Allen Carlson's model for the "appropriate" aesthetic appreciation of nature. Upon first reading Carlson's point of view I found myself agreeing, more or less, with everything he said. As a biology major it made sense to me that to have what I would consider an appropriate aesthetic experience in nature it would require some scientific knowledge about the aspect of nature in question. Carlson's logic seemed sound, and I could see how it practically made sense, so I accepted his view. However, as the semester went on and we read other philosophers' work, I noticed that my confidence in Carlson's view started to fade. I began to redefine what I though was the appropriate experience in nature. I thought about people like Daniel Boone and others of that sort and how I cannot imagine they had an incorrect or inappropriate aesthetic experience in nature. I also found myself standing in awe of certain aspects of nature as I spent more time in the woods on my family's farm. I did indeed believe that the experiences I had there were appropriate. Thus, I cannot at this moment say that I completely disagree with Carlson, but I no longer can say I agree with him either. This was the first major thing that has stuck with me.

The second is a topic that has been discussed rather recently. It was the topic that I blogged on in the last few blogs regarding how someone can judge their lives before it is over that I got from the Bugbee readings. This is something that I believe I have answered for myself, but that I continue to think about every single day. I think that, for me, I have to evaluate my life based on what I see in the Bible and through my personal faith in Jesus Christ. This is how I can tell if my life has meaning or not without having to wait until I am on my deathbed and have to look back on everything I have done in life. This is an idea, as I said, that I bounce around in my head and am constantly refining and updating in my thought life. It provoked a massive amount of thought, which I think is extremely good.

These are just two small parts of the semester that we have looked at in this class. But they are the two things that I think I will remember twenty years from now when I reflect on what I remember from this class. These are the things that spoke to me and the things that I keep with me in my everyday life. While I can't remember everything we talked about or even understand every philosophical labyrinth that Henry Bugbee penned, I will always have these two topics to remember and ponder on, and this class to thank for that.

Bugbee, July 20th

This day has a tiny part I feel I can actually relate to and understand.
"Whatever we find beautiful, ...right, ...true, [also] invites disbelief and arbitrariness..."
This makes me think about my faith in God. He is the one thing throughout my life on this earth that I have seen to be true with me and not once, turned his back on me. I believe he is my lord and savior and above all. But I have had moments questioning my faith, like why is it that I feel so strongly about God? Why do I have such a strong desire to spend the rest of eternity with Him and gain acceptance to walk through those pearly gates of heaven the bible talks so much about? Why do I believe this stuff?? And the reason is NOT because "that's just how my parents raised me to think" because I know plenty of people with Christian/Religious parents and families who want nothing to do with religion and/or God. No matter how hardcore the rest of the family may be about Jesus Christ some people just don't understand him, and really have no interest in trying to understand. There used to be times I doubted my true worth in His eyes, on this earth, I knew He loved me but I didn't really understand how much. I've had my talks with Him along my uphill battles with myself but I have finally reached a point in my life that I am truly happy with. He is what's beautiful to me and the only unbelievable part of is the amount of love he has for me, as well as for the rest of His children. It's crazy incredible, and even though I am still facing elements of the earth that are trying to make me believe my faith is "arbitrary", I refuse to let that poison my mind. I know who my God is and I have all that evidence I need from my own life's experiences.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Food and Environmental Aesthetics

Click on the link above to read an interesting article about the world's growing need for agricultural land, the impact that agriculture has had on our environment, and more. The picture of a paddy field below is from the article and I thought it was really beautiful.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stepping Back to Catch Up

I don't seem to be very good at this blogging thing. I'm more than a little behind, but I think I've finally realized why I have so much trouble thanks to some of our recent readings.

My first few posts were my reactions straight from the reading, written out in kind of a rigid format as I tried to grasp the technical ideas of philosophy.  However, reading Bugbee has gotten me inspired to catch back up. He relates ideas from his wanderings, both mentally and physically, back to his own central philosophy, without getting bogged down in trying to frame his arguments in some kind of rigid format. Over the next few days I hope to do just that as I catch up to the blog.

Now that I've put down my excuses, and talked about myself too much, on to the important bit.

This week, for me, has been a week of wandering.  I've gotten out into the woods for a little while almost every day now that the weather has turned nice and warm.  The paths behind the dorm where I live have been my primary romping zone, and I made a fun discovery the other day- a blue tailed skink foraging down next to the creek. 

I spent a good hour chasing that skink, and didn't manage to catch him before he ran away.  However, I did succeed in getting myself covered in dirt, grass-stains, and scratching up my legs on the brush.  I had other more important things to work on, but that hour was one of the best I'd had in a while, and that hour was spent chasing a creepy-crawly little lizard.  Just being immersed in the natural world for a little while made my stress fall away and re-grounded me. 

For just a little while, it was just me experiencing the chase, and intimately interacting with the world around me.  Every crinkle of twigs under my boots, every movement of the skink, every ripple in the creek, and every bird call were present before my senses.  I felt like I could grasp Bugbee's notion of "wilderness" a little more clearly, as I simply experienced the things that were present around me without bias or preconception.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


When reading my section for class. It really made me think about the finality of things. How everything seems to be indefinite in this world. There is nothing in this world though that will help a person in the afterlife. All together Bugbee really made me think about how I perceive certain things.

Blog 11

The Bugbee reading today was very interesting. I liked how Bugbee said that man always look for answers, but also tend to look away at the same time. I think that still holds true to today, that people want to ask questions that they don't want to know the answer to. This led into his discussion of light. Is light something that is apparent or where things are able to be seen. Then he also talked about the theme of wonder and that wonder deepens reason, which ultimately deepens reality. The ending of this reading did not come full circle for me, but I think he just wanted to implore a new way of thinking.

Blog 10

The film we watched in class with Johnny Depp was to observe nature. The scenes were shot as Johnny Depp went further and further west. It was interesting to see how the men and characters changed as the train ride continued. The scenes that were seen out of the train car were quite interesting. As the train continued the landscape was very bland and empty with dust balls rolling around and tee pees. It seemed like it depicted the landscape well.

Blog 9

As the weather changes this season, it is interesting to see how people's attitude toward nature changes as well. Everybody begins to gasp at the beauty outside and the temperature change. It's strange that people tend to only appreciate spring and fall but never as much as summer or winter. The spring and fall are more of the picturesque seasons. The fall with decent temperatures and beautiful changing colors and trees and then the spring with life beginning or blossoming. Why do people not appreciate the other seasons? Even though the winter comes across as dry and dormite, it is a beautiful thing that organisms can lay asleep in order to prosper in the spring. Its one continuous cycle of life, it should not be broken down into distinct separate parts. In my own personal experience on campus, I always get excited to see nature change when spring arrives, but I absolutely hate the smell of the blossoming trees all around campus! Its all about finding the balance!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Curious Writing Style of Henry Bugbee

There's been a few comments in class as well as some blog posts that seem to reflect a frustration or confusion with the writing style of Henry Bugbee.  I tend to agree that large passages of information can go over my head without an inkling of his intent or lesson.  However, I don't think this is because Henry Bugbee is inherently "smarter" than us or that his vocabulary or diction are so advanced that we cannot even understand his writing/speech.  I do believe him to be a brilliant man, but not so brilliant as to not have an ability to communicate with our class members.  I believe that our inability to grasp all of the ideas within The Inward Morning stems from the fact that Bugbee himself doesn't grasp all of the ideas within The Inward Morning.  Above, I have called the book's writing style "curious" for two reasons.  For one, it seeks out answers meticulously.  Henry Bugbee is curious about many, many things.  Also, his style is curious in that it doesn't seek to answer all of the questions it comes across.  It merely seeks to propose them.  The book asks questions rather than answers them and I believe this to be the reason many of us don't see what Bugbee wants us to think.  He doesn't want us to think anything in particular - he just wants us to think.

"Sunday, September 28th"

Within this entry of Henry Bugbee's The Inward Morning, he records his thought on religious thinkers such as St. Augustine, and where he believes knowledge and religious belief comes from.  I particularly liked this journal entry because I believe this one, over any of the others, gets very deep into the overall question of philosophy.  He truly asks himself, "What does philosophy seek?" and in answering this question, Bugbee gets at the heart of religious belief.  Henry Bugbee is a very experiential teacher and learner.  He posits that philosophy is not about finding a tangible answer.  It is not an empirical science.  Philosophy is about the experience of learning.  Belief, specifically, religious belief, is based upon our experiences because knowledge is based upon our experiences.  Bugbee states, "Perhaps in all strictness we would have to realize more and more that experience is not a subject matter susceptible to objective representation and deliberate control.”  We do not choose our experiences.  We do not choose our beliefs.  These things occur to us and we are to use these experiences as we please.

A reflection on The Masters

As The Masters, arguably the most famous golf tournament in the world, comes to a close, I can't help but apply what we've learned to the tournament's landscape.  Augusta National, the golf course that houses this world famous tournament, is a place flooded with tradition.  Forgotten, old world charm is not forgotten by the members of this country club to which only the richest of the rich belong.  Bringing cell phones onto the golf course is the worst crime one can commit at Augusta National.  Why does such a place warrant discussion in an environmental aesthetics course?  Many people say that, during The Masters weekend, Augusta National is absolutely the most manicured 350+ acres of land on Earth.  There are hundreds of men at all times working behind the scene to pick up pine needles, trim leaves that are out of place on bushes, straighten flower petals, etc.  There are trees that have branches wired so they cannot move out of their perfectly aesthetic position.  It has been joked that Augusta has a name for every blade of grass on the golf course.  A theme of our course (I can't quite remember which philosopher brought up the idea) has been that the natural world is beautiful, not the man-made world.  Anything man touches is officially ruined and beauty is slowly running out the more we touch.  However, watching The Masters, even on television, its difficult to avoid that tingly feeling that lets you know you're looking at something beautiful.  I had numerous "wow" moments in the short number of hours I got to watch the tournament on television over the weekend.  How can we say that Augusta National Golf Course is not beautiful because it is extensively manicured?  The bridges reflected in pools of perfectly glassy water, the bright, blooming flowers lining the tall treeline of those green, blushing Georgia pines.  Not one blade of grass out of place.  I think man is capable of beauty, even when it comes to competing with nature.  I believe Augusta National proves that man can hold his own against nature when it comes to producing beauty.

Nature in Movies! Wild America (Blog 9)

Because I am a Cinephile (lover/obsessed with movies) and we talked about how Nature is portrayed in movies in class, I figured I would discuss an old favorite inspirational movie which portrays experience and conservation within Nature.  It is a very special under appreciated movie and I really wish more people would watch it: Wild America.
Based on a true story, the film is about three brothers who decide to travel across America and capture animals (especially endangered) with their video camera.  If we accept Leopold who says Nature includes everything within the background, animals are Nature... trying to protect and show them [Here I go with an animal rant again :p] is a benefit or good thing. In a way they are like Timothy Treadwell because several times they risk their necks out in the movie just to shoot these animals, but in the end it is worth it.  The real brothers have become well known photographers and have also captured incredible moments through film. Anyways,  every time I watch this movie it moves me for several reasons and it shows natural environments like we saw in Dead Zone and The Searchers.  I would highly recommend this movie--it is funny, touching, and inspiring!  Plus it has Jonathan Taylor Thomas in it.

The three brothers just shot some wild horses and are now try to get in their car before they are stamped to death.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weather and Seasons

     As I sit outside doing my homework, I can't help but notice how the weather being comfortable causes me to enjoy the outdoors more. If it were too cold or too hot, I'd be inside.  But because of the nice temperature, I'm outside.  While I am not in what we would term true nature, I can still see green trees, flowers blooming, feel the breeze, hear birds chirping and the buzzing of the bubble bee that is hovering over my deck (which I will admit is slightly annoying).  The weather, however, makes it possible for me to be outside enjoying these things.  Another thing that I think affects one's appreciation of nature is the season.  Driving today, I noticed how the trees are turning green again.  The world looks so much more lively and happier.  Certainly a walk in the park would be much more enjoyable today than one a few months ago when all the trees leaves were gone.  I think this aspect of color adds to nature.  So together, I think seasons and weather can affect our appreciations of nature.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blog #11

I would like to admit first and foremost that the Bugbee book has been one of the most dense things that I have ever read and I am not sure that I understand most of it, but the parts that I think I understand have cause me to stop and think, and I think that thinking is always good (as opposed to having nothing going on in your head). Even if I do not understand what I think I understand from Bubgee, the book (particularly the section I presented to the class) has caused me to think, and that is a good thing.

The one thing that I have been thinking on the most is the quote from Bugbee that says "at the heart of true contemplation is disinterestedness." The way that I took this is that to truly stop and contemplate the world around you, you must first take a neutral stance where you do not decide from the start what things are going to get your attention; only then can you truly contemplate. Whether or not this is exactly what Bugbee was going for, I think that the way I interpreted it is nonetheless worthy of some reflection and is definitely applicable in real life. So many times in my life (which has only just recently completed its second decade) I have so much going on in my head at a given time that I am only thinking on those things that I am preoccupied with. Through anxiety and worrying I decide that the things I am anxious about are the things that are going to get my attention and other things, which may also be important or even enjoyable for me to ponder, are pushed to the wayside. I would not call this way of thinking comtemplation. I would call it, simply, anxiety. So I think that to really stop and have true contemplation, you really must be disinterested and take a neutral stance.

That's my take on the quote. I enjoyed this particular section (i.e. the one with the above quote in it) the most out of any section so far.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Urban grass might be greener, but that doesn't mean it's "greener"


I just finished my Micro-Essay #3 assignment and I wrote it on an essay in our "Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism" textbook. The essay was about cultural sustainability and how we need to align our idea of aesthetics with ecologically healthy practices. It really intrigued me when the author wrote, "the picturesque appearance of a landscape can distract us from asking questions about how humans have affected it" (p. 370). 

The essay went on to talk about a Phalen Watershed project that is designed to show people in the community what an ecologically healthy environment looks like and how it can be taken care of intelligently. It is almost like a urban ecology center where children, students, and adults alike will be able to see that an environment can be both aesthetically pleasing and ecologically healthy just by seeing it and immersing themselves in it. 

After reading about this project, I researched a little about ecological efforts in Cincinnati. I found an article by the title, "Urban grass might be greener, but that doesn't mean it's 'greener'". The full article can be found here:

This article describes a study done by a professor at UC. Amy Townsend-Small studied the effects of lawn management techniques on the production of greenhouse gas. The carbon uptake and storage in the soil of lawns in Los Angeles and Cincinnati was monitored. The research showed that "while having a well-cared-for lawn will improve its carbon-quelling capacity, intensive lawn care isn't worth the atmospheric side effects." 

This research really reiterates the argument in our textbook that although a landscape may be aesthetically pleasing, it may not be ecologically healthy and its care may not be producing ecologically healthy effects. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blog 9 (Confusion)

I am really struggling to understand most of the Bugbee text.  There are some random sections/quotes I like but most of it is really going past my head and confusing me, so forgive me if I don't participate much because I am really pushing myself to understand it.   Even when people in class are presenting it in class it goes over my head, but I may be a slow learner. :p  I always feel like for the most part he's not relating back to nature that much but is just focusing on greater questions or going beyond just talking about Environmental Aesthetics...if that makes sense.  And his themes to me seem all over the place because of the fact it is a journal, so I'm having immense trouble.  My favorite entry has been the one I presented where I think he has tied in nature examples back into his theme of immersion, and I just wish he would have done that in most of the book.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


I need to be reading for this class and yet I can't. It is raining outside. My window is open and I can hear the rain beating against the roof. I can smell it. I have items near the window that are getting wet but I don't care. I have only eyes for the rain.

Rain has been my favorite part of nature since I was a little girl. I grew up in the desert where there were not many rainstorms. We had monsoon season, which was a few months in the summer where it would rain for about ten minutes—really hot, dusty water—, get humid for two hours, and then be just like any other day. I think it was the lack of rain that really drew me to it. It is also this that fostered my dislike of umbrellas (why hide from the rain when it is so wonderful?) There is something so pure and clean about a rainstorm. As they say, it washes everything away. But it is more than that. There is an interesting harmony created in a rainstorm. Everything becomes blanketed in water droplets and grows stronger because of it. Because water gives life, it helps things grow.

Rain gives me a sense of peace. It gives me hope. It reminds me of God and His light. It is serene. It is hypnotizing. It is magic.

It is nature.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blog 9

I find the new book kind of interesting. A bit confusing, but interesting. There are only a few sections in this reading that I have enjoyed but the rest has just been jibber jabber to me. I can't seem to really wrap my head around it, which makes me really glad we're doing these student presentation things. I think it helps a lot with each of us taking turns to really dissect a section at a time and explain it to the rest of the class.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blog #9: Random Musings

I've always been attracted to the charm of New England, especially the area up around Maine along the coast. Something about lighthouses intrigues me; that kind of quaint, old town rustic atmosphere.

Also, I think Europe's landscapes have a certain element to them lacking in many American landscapes... Not necessarily for better or worse, it just invokes a different kind of emotion.

I've always wanted to go to Ireland, so I thought an Irish landscape would be appropriate... I love the medieval feel of much of Europe.

Now some American landscapes:

As I said, both beautiful but it's a different kind of awe-inspiring. Also, one thing I've noticed. Do a simple google image search of "beautiful landscapes."

The above is a link to my google search.

There is one recurring theme in almost all of the pictures: water. Why is it that we associate waterways with beauty? Just something I noticed that started to irk me a little bit. Not that I find water inherently unattractive, quite the opposite really. But the fact that water is in about 90% of these images begs the question, "What is it about bodies of water that we find so desirable?"

Monday, April 1, 2013

What a difference three years makes..

Three years ago, my friend came up to visit from Arizona. We went driving in my truck because she was awed by all the greenery around here and we stumbled across Middle Creek Park about ten minutes up the road from my house. It was incredible. There were hiking trails, trees everywhere, and tons of flowers. As we walked the trail, we came across this beautiful, old bridge that connected the trails over the water. We stood on it and marveled at how peaceful everything looked. As we kept on, we trekked down to the water, got stuck in some quicksand and met a snake. In total we spent about two hours hiking around that bridge.

Last night, my friend, Tyler, and I went to the movies. It was a life-changing experience that I can't quite put into words. The last few months of my life have been filled with soul searching and finding God. God and His goodness. The theme of the movie last night was "In giving, we receive." And I was so overcome with this sense of goodness and peacefulness. I tried to think of the most peaceful place I knew and my mind went to that bridge. I needed to share it with him.

We went back to Middle Creek today to find that bridge. As we walked along the trail, he was engulfed in this giant, incredible tree with a cross carved in it. For two people seeking goodness and God, it was perfect. The area around the tree looked so familiar to me and I couldn't place it. It was the tree and the creek. We walked further and came across the wooden and metal skeleton of what looked to me an old pier. It turned out to be the bridge I'd brought him out to see. Upon looking around more, we found a ditched with ashes and nails; it was where they had burned the broken slats.

My heart broke. The most peaceful place I knew here was gone. Ashes. I almost cried. But we kept walking. And as we did, Tyler found a broken piece of china in the sand. This had meaning to both of us—more so to him, which is why he kept it. It made the whole trip worth it, albeit a little sad.

Because the bridge wasn't there, we couldn't continue on the trail. We are planning to go back soon though—this time prepared to cross the creek.

I may have posted this picture here before, but as it no longer stands, this picture is one of the last images of that bridge. Its peacefulness, beauty and goodness now exist only in my heart and memory.