Blog post one [1/21/2020]
Where do I seek nature and why?
There are many special places in the world. Some are celebrated for their ties to historic events, others are known for their proximity to amenities, while others are cherished for their natural sublime. A natural sublime is a place’s propensity to spark wonder due to incredibly rare beauty. Places where I seek nature consist of these sublime moments. In particular, the places I seek nature most often are within the National Parks across America. Sequoia National park, for example, boasts the largest trees in North America. Tree trunks spanning over 30 feet in diameter spark a feeling unparalleled to other environments. The protected Sequoia trees have been celebrated as a natural icon to Southern California since 1890 when the National Park was founded. I would define nature as organic growth untouched by human hands. This definition can include cancer and bacteria, but also includes the giant sequoia tree. While pollution has touched the whole surface of the earth, these trees represent nature’s timely response to this natural disaster, as well as brush fires. Sequoia trees can withstand brush fires and polluted air through their fibrous 2-foot-thick bark. This response to crisis makes the environment feel truly natural to me and is why John Muir designated it as one of the national parks. When nature has the space and time to fight back for itself, I designate that as a natural place.
Urban Wildness [1/30/2020]
The City in Nature
In the photograph The City as a Germ, the urban condition of downtown Knoxville, TN is shown as a growth which is spreading through the valley beside the Tennessee River. The image of urban sprawl and densification shows the impact the city has on the original condition of the valley and illustrates the forever altered landscape due to the built environment invasion. The Tennessee River winds through the foreground of the picture, participating as the last surviving natural icon in the valley. Downstream, even this river has been altered by the germ of civilization damming its flow and creating the nine lakes along the stretch of the River.
Nature in the City
The photograph Never Forgotten shows an attempt of nature to take over a foreign object. While construction processes and foreign materials invade native land and ecosystems regularly, pieces of the torn landscape often attempt to work with the new systems at play. This nature in the city can become a focal point and/or a nuisance—like the moss growing on the brick wall. While there is often a negative perception of foreign materials invading a landscape through construction, in some instances, it is interesting to see how these materials offer a unique habitat for quieter native processes to be highlighted.
The City as Nature
In Every Man for Himself, the image illustrates a return to instinct, as mankind rushes to get a glimpse of Tom’s field—Gillette Stadium. The advances humans have made with technology, efficiency, materials and communication seem to disappear as a mad rush overtook this crowd to get in the stadium before kickoff. This survival of the fittest mentality levels any city’s effort for smooth circulation and flow. While people push into each other trying to be the next one through the metal detectors, the appreciation and care for everything else disappears—mankind’s most unique trait. This was an eye-opening moment.