Reflection and Self-Evaluation

Q: What is the strongest entry in the site journal? Why?

A: I believe my strongest entries are tied between the two with the historical portions. Although it doesn’t have a lot to do with nature itself, I imagine it as history taking part in nature. Walker and Kirchhoff both moved to those certain locations for certain reasons…to be in nature and to escape. I was doing the same…many years later. I felt that I could relate to Kirchhoff and Walker, especially after taking this class, with their desire to live among the forest.
Q: What did you enjoy about this assignment? Why?

A: I have always really enjoyed documenting things. I have been an avid journalist for years now…and I have always sought after keeping a blog. This was perfect, and it was an interesting and beautiful concept to capture and document. I have become very connected to this park…and I know I will be back. I have a respect for nature now that I didn’t in the past, and I will continue to carry that respect with me for the rest of my life.

Q: What was difficult or challenging about the assignment? What could be improved in your site journal, or what do you wish you had done differently?

A: Being consistent about visits was difficult, given some weekends I was gone or others I was simply to busy. I also lost track of a lot of the spots I was going to visit time after time and take pictures of the changes…however, I managed to capture the change quite effectively I think. I wish my entires had been even more thought out and maybe a bit longer.

Q: How did you synthesize your entries as you completed the final version of the site journal?

A: I think one blog entry just flows right to the rest. Hopefully the reader will be able to see the changes of the park itself, and the changes I have had with this park. I really like going back and seeing how my writing and thought process has changed from one entry to the next.
Q: What risks – in the writing, images, ideas – did you take in the site journal?

A: I really tried to think outside of the box. I wanted to incorporate poetry, music (since that’s such a huge part of my life) and my personal thoughts in my entries.
Q:  What did you learn about your site and about nature writing by completing the site journal?

A: I learned that Mt. Falcon Park holds some incredible history, and it is a great place to escape if I need one. I hope others can gain that same experience if they read my journal and decide to visit the park.

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Week 9 Escape…

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November 6th, 2016.

The final days are fast approaching for this project…however, not for the life of this park. Certainly not for the my life here, the park now holds a special place in my heart. I know I will be back several times throughout my life. Perhaps I’ll keep this blog up? I’m now treating this like a therapy session, as the college life is draining me and I need a place to vent. As Natalie and I were making our way to meet Olympia at her car, she turned to me and said, “I really need an escape. I need Mt. Falcon Park.” I didn’t know at the time, but boy did I need it as well.

It was a partly cloudy, breezy afternoon. Our ride up was pleasant, we exchanged stories, complaints, observations, and laughs. We were all very anxious to arrive, as the park drew nearer we became more and more hyper. When I stepped out of the car, I felt a rush of relief. The fact I had hours upon hours of homework to do suddenly didn’t matter anymore. Or the stress of only having two more weeks of school left. My worries and doubts were carried away with the wind.

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Not totally sure why I’m including this in the blog…saw this (really nice) car and I found the license plate rather amusing, especially with our recent discussions in class…

Anyway, our journey started as it normally does, with a stroll down Parmalee Trail. The trail looked…older. More mature. All of the leaves that were once a vibrant orange or yellow, had disappeared all together. All that was left, were the bare tree limbs that swayed with the wind. The park appeared more relaxed with the energy of the leaves gone. This was a friendly and much needed sight, I needed a moment of pure relaxation.

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Here’s an example. This same tree…which I believe appears in an earlier blog, used to be a bold orange…

We decided to take the last of three trails, the castle trail. Now…going with the theme, the castle trail did indeed lead to a castle, as the tower trail led us to a tower.  Which actually used to be an old house that belonged to John Brisben Walker. As we approached the ruins of the castle/house, I became increasingly excited. The history behind the Kirchhoff Cabin was exciting enough…now we have two pieces of history on this mountain??

img_0421This sign stood directly in front of the castle, and if you go ahead and read through it (find your reading glasses…) you’ll find some pretty fascinating history. I always find myself in awe of old, burned or torn down places. Knowing this place stood and housed a family truly amazes me. History has to be one of my favorite things…and I don’t consider myself a history buff. In fact, I would call myself the complete opposite. I truly don’t retain information very well….dates and other things that require memorization don’t bode well for me.

However, in the case of this castle, I was intrigued. We spent a good forty-five minutes at the castle, peering into the holes that penetrate the old building. What happened to Walker after he left Colorado? I guess I’ll just have to wonder….

Our walk back from the castle was magnificent. The sun warmed us as we paraded our way gleefully back to the car. The meadow was giving us it’s best, the tan grass swayed with the breeze and the birds sang away…I closed my eyes as I let my body do the walking, and my mind wander on it’s own. I thought of many things…my journey with this park, as a person, and as a musician through these first eight weeks of school.

I have almost grown up with Mt. Falcon Park. I don’t want to sound to cliché, but the park has become a support system. Constantly changing…but consistently there.

Given this is the last blog post (for this project) about this park…and I’m not huge on saying goodbye. I’ll sum up my experience at Mt. Falcon Park in just a couple of sentences.

Mt. Falcon Park made me feel free. On our last trip, as we were sitting amongst the ruins of the castle, we watched from afar as two falcons (ironically enough) soared through the air. They were performing a graceful dance in the sky, as they simply floated above the current of the air. I remember wondering what it would feel like to fly. FREE. It would feel free. The closest I’ve ever been to free, was going to Mt. Falcon Park, and letting go of everything binding me…my emotions, fears, and anxiety. The park has given me a new perspective on life, and one I certainly won’t forget.

 

Fracking Writing Exercise…

 

November 7th, 2016.

Honestly, before this class, I wasn’t aware of the environment at all. I didn’t know what fracking was…I had of course heard of it, but never knew the true extent of it’s devastation on this planet. Fracking is killing our planet. I would compare fracking to stabbing a knife into someone, multiple times, and taking out their lungs or bone marrow or white and red blood cells, any of the things necessary to stay alive.

Out of pure curiosity, I just googled, “how much energy does the U.S use daily…” The answer that popped up right away was from 2014, it was 10,932 kilowatt-hours. I can’t even wrap my head around how much energy that is…and the scary part, that survey was taken in 2014, the year is 2016 now…the amount of energy we must be using now is most likely unfathomable.

Fracking doesn’t help that number out, either. Not only is fracking destroying our environment, but it’s killing us. We watched a documentary in class called, “Gasland,” which showed the detrimental effects fracking has on us, and the planet. One of the most shocking parts of the film, was when one of the people in the film lit their faucet water on fire. Even scarier for me, that took place in Colorado, my home-state. The place I care about so deeply. Cancer and other debilitating diseases are on the rise, and genetics are simply not to blame anymore. Our need for fast everything, transportation, internet, gas, food, entertainment…is to blame. We are committing a suicide and a murder at the same time, by killing ourselves and our planet.

As far as where I stand on fracking, after all I have learned, I am certainly against it. It seems to be we are just soaking up what the earth has entirely, and soon we will have nothing left.

I believe watching these documentaries, and reading the books truly helped me grasp the idea of fracking.

Orr & Fracking…

Tuesday, November 2nd.

Fracking is a complicated human contrivance resulting from money and power-hungry people who could care less about the environment that they are literally blowing up. Fracking has created an uneducated society and a careless one. Our world is being abused by our need for fast everything and we are suffering from it. Fracking is a simple, yet devastating task. A hole is drilled deep into the earth, blown-up, and then chemically infused water flushes out the inside so enough pressure is created to retrieve the natural gas.

Lights Out! (Take 2…)

Sunday October 30th, 2016.

Yet another dark expedition to Mt. Falcon Park…I must admit, I haven’t been very good at visiting our spot lately. I’ve been ridiculously busy, and simply forgetting to put time aside to go visit. Luckily, I managed to spare a couple of hours this evening to see (or not…) the changes that have occurred.

Tonight was a warm night…at least for the time I was there. Olympia and Natalie accompanied me on this adventure. Which, was nice to have given the aura surrounding tonight was creepy because of my Halloween related superstition.

The sky was very dark tonight, no accents of the stars as the clouds were a blanket over them. Though that was disappointing, I appreciated the clouds trapping in the day’s heat, and keeping us warm.

After we got out of the car in our usual parking lot, we headed down a trail…I managed to forget the name, and we stumbled upon a doe and her two fawns. It was scary running into them, because my iPhone light only illuminated their eyes, six pairs of them, all staring wildly at us…wondering what our next move will be.

The doe was the closest to us, perhaps ten feet away. She was fearless, I felt intimidated by her. I knew that if we made one threatening move towards her fawns, she would clobber us. It made me think of just how strong and amazing nature is, and all of it’s aspects. The animals that live all over the world, constantly fight for survival. They fight each other, nature itself, and they fight us. Brave creatures, honestly.

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There’s a sad attempt at catching a photo of the doe. Not the best quality, but you get the idea…

Nature continues to live on, as man does. However, nature lives on at a much more relaxed and enjoyable state. One can feel that simply carousing the hiking trails…nature is so…easy-going.

Stay tuned for next weeks, hopefully more detailed and interesting blog post…I am determined to capture the change of this park!

Eco-Feminism…

October 26th, 2016

Today’s in class writing topic was on Eco-Feminism…here are my thoughts.

Q: “In your experience, how and where have you experienced our culture’s valuing reason and devaluing emotion? How has this rationale manifested itself? How has it been justified? ”

A: I have grown up being taught that in order to be successful my actions must be lead with my brain and not my heart (or soul). To think logically and not emotionally. I completely disagree…and have always tended to live my life as emotionally driven as possible…however I’m swimming against the current in today’s society. The tricky part is figuring out what exactly in our lives contains emotions. I would say everything has to be done or seen or heard or said with some kind of emotion…otherwise what’s the point? Today’s society wants to create robots. Emotionless beings that can pump out answers to the world’s problems and fix it with the push of a button without thought or emotion. For me…being a music major, the thought of an emotionless world scares me. Why, you may ask? The main goal of creating or making music is to invoke emotion into an audience. Now…of course there is the argument one can’t feel the vastness of emotions that music calls for…and I agree with that to a point. One must create the illusion of an emotion to strike the audience in the correct way. Emotion is the sole reason people listen to music, nothing more. As much emotion that is required to make music, the same amount of logic is also needed. Being able to move your fingers into the correct position, at the right time, in the right place within the music and to remember dynamics, the correct way to play a certain passage, to count, play technically correct. That’s all logic. Music occurs when logic and emotion are combined.

 

 

 

 

 

In Class Writing

  • “…white is the absence of all color, and whiteness equals truth…” Encountering truth and accepting truth are two different stories. I believe people encounter truth every day, however are mostly unsure about what to do with it. I know personally I have encountered, “the truth”, many times as a musician. The simple reality of a career in music is that you will always be striving to be the best (and you need to be in order to get a job) however you will never be the best. I am constantly reminded of the reality that I must practice more, I have to practice better, and I have to be more consistent. It’s always facing one “truth” after the other.

I am worried about my future…that’s the one “factory cooking in my brain right now. A life in music is a fulfilling one if you can make it…and a lot of people don’t. I’m only hoping my true passion and dedication to music will drive me through.

Humans get caught up in the “whiteness and the factory smoke, because we concentrate too hard on being perfect. Perfection is unattainable, yet we expect ourselves to be perfect. Humanity is obsessed with the imperfect parts of life…and obsess over them until they are forgotten or fixed.

 

  • Teachers recognize that it can be difficult for some students to speak in front of a larger group of people. They recognize the importance of students discussing amongst themselves as opposed to the teachers blabbing off in front of a group of students. It is important for the students to connect with one another and a lot of times, the smaller setting leads for a more intense yet comfortable discussion place. The students gain the opportunity to talk amongst themselves, while getting new ideas from different people. Small group work can be problematic because students could be creating their own ideas of what is correct, though it might not be correct.