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Experiencing ‘Walden’

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Photo by Christy

  “The earth has music for those who listen.” – George Santayana

 It’s important some times to stop what you’re doing, and go explore the nature around you. I usually don’t have much need of persuasion to go out into nature, but some times because I’m worried about life, I forget that God has created this amazing beauty for me to enjoy.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, in preparation for the comps exams (basically exit exams for the Masters program), but also because of the web series, Classic Alice. I’ve mentioned this web series before, but I’m very excited for the upcoming new episodes that will start June 9th. So far I know they plan to cover Walden. This web series is a bit different to other literary web series in the fact that they cover more than one classic story. Yet like others, they take a modern twist. What excites me about this amazing web series is the fact that they really promote the reading of classic literature, and find new creative ways to imagine these texts while also creating a unique story. The reason is that they are able take some aspect, or several from the text, and advance the characters stories. The main character literally grows from experiencing these classic texts. When I found out that Classic Alice was planning to cover Walden, I was so excited that my best friend Tabitha couldn’t believe it. She actually didn’t like the novel when she had to read it for class, but then again, she had a tough class to begin with. The reason why I was excited was because the show would be covering a book that I would need to know for the comps exams. So in a way, they are kind of helping me study. Now that I’ve read half way, I kind of see what my best friend was talking about, but at the same time, see why it’s so important for Classic Alice to cover this text. Why? Because it’s not a story per say, but an account of someone’s experience with nature and life. This can seem for some as “dry” because they are used to an interesting narrative with plot that affects the characters and they grow as the story evolves. This text has a different purpose, it’s more personal. The author intends to explain how much nature has impacted him, for others to also go out and explore. He wants personal change for the reader, as well as give us a better appreciation for the nature around us.

Like Alice Rackham, from Classic Alice, who makes life decisions from classic texts. I decided after reading part of the text that I would go explore nature with Tabitha. Don’t worry, I’ll finish the text soon. Anyways, this past Tuesday we went to my favorite beach location, and to a local duck pond. Besides enjoying my time with my friend and taking pictures, I was determined to look at the nature through Thoreau’s perspective. Obviously it’s not going to be the same as his since he lived out there for a period of time, and didn’t have technology with him. As well as being basically on his own most of the time. A way to help you understand his perspective, I’ll let you know two of his best quotes from the text:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” “We need the tonic of wildness… At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough nature.” 

This made me look at nature differently. God created the world around us, most importantly nature. We can’t ever forget that. By reminding ourselves of this amazing beauty, should be something we help share with others. We need to do our part to protect the environment for everyone. The only way we can do that is to know what we’re fighting for. At the same time, when you’re out there exploring nature, you’re also exploring yourself. Leave everything of worry behind, and remember who you really are. Yes, it’s just a beach and just a pond with ducks, but if we look at it closely we can see art, wonder, happiness, life, and remind us what’s truly important in our lives.

Earlier this year and recently, I’ve been inspired to write a bit of fanfiction thanks to some of the shows I’ve been watching. It’s not likely I’ll stop any time soon. Besides that, I’ve been recently inspired to write about nature. I haven’t yet, but hope to do so soon (possibly poetry). I think it’s come from reading Walden, as well as exploration of nature this past week with my best friend as well as with my family. This has also reminded me of two professors I used to have that were really drawn to writing about their experiences with nature that they wrote journals, poems & stories. From what I can tell so far from Classic Alice, Alice is inspired to write more as well from her experiences. Which is amazing how much a character, though different, can be similar when you take a simple step as seeing a text from a different perspective.

If you haven’t seen Classic Alice yet, I recommend doing so. From what I’ve experienced of the show so far, it has inspired and given me a new perspective on how to experience literature. If you have, re-watch now before the new episodes start. It’s worth watching, and especially reading along. Additionally, the series is interactive online through trans-media aspects by story telling via Twitter, Tumblr, & podcasting, along with the episodes on YouTube. I can’t wait to see what other books they end up covering this season. I hope you’ll experience the amazing ride along with me.

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Photo by Christy

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We don’t have forever

Photo by Christy

Photo by Christy

As much as I would love to talk about the TV show, Forever, I will not (but I really recommend watching this amazing show & signing this petition). Clearly as other posts on my blog, I’m inspired to write with a theme in mind. It happens that this theme is inspired by the show. So it kind of all works out. Though it also is a bit inspired by the reading I’ve been doing lately, partly for the Comps exams plus Classic Alice (Thoreau’s Walden) & for enjoyment (Rick Riordan’s The Blood of Olympus). Plus recent life experiences. Anyways, all these things have brought me to a continued realization that I should live in the moment and take chances. Unlike Dr. Henry Morgan, we don’t live forever. Yet we can learn from him.

Yes, some memories are precious and we need to hang on to them. but Emily Dickinson wrote ‘Forever is composed of nows’ and she’s right. If we root ourselves too deeply in the past we’ll miss what’s right in front of us.

Sometimes, so we don’t get hurt, we quickly think of all that wouldn’t work instead of taking a chance. You really never know where that chance might lead. So it’s best to be open to possibilities, take chances, and hope for the best. It simple but difficult at times. This also applies with the uncertainty of investing too much of ourselves in a project, or a relationship, that might not turn out like we hope. I find that in some instances I can be spontaneous and confident, but when I have doubt, I’m more likely to be hesitant towards what ever it may be. Those are the times when I need just a little push of reassurance.

I never ride a bike because I have a fear of falling and getting hurt. This explains a lot really. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to fail. Yet some how I’m still able to drive even after car accidents. We all have a similar fear. Most of the time it’s good because it helps protect us, but most of the time it can close us off from great opportunities. Sometimes it isn’t fear at all, but an uncertainty of how people will respond. We all have our best intentions, but we let these feelings get in the way, as well as forgetting or not quite realizing what’s around us.

If I hadn’t had reassurance from family and friends, along with great feedback from professors/editors, about my essay “Mentoring in the Wizarding World: Dumbledore & His Literary Ancestors” maybe those feelings might have taken control and I may have never completed the project that soon will be published. If hadn’t closed a door to my past, and decided to go to graduate school, I might have not been inspired to write the essay in the first place. So many factors, but it’s clear that when I really want to accomplish something I can achieve it. Yet I’m unsure what lies ahead. Sure I’ve got plans to apply for PhD programs, but who knows if I get accepted. There is still stuff left I need to do before getting on that train if it arrives. I know now that I’m not afraid to get on that train, and head towards a new chapter in my life. Just as we can’t stay too much in the past, we also can’t ponder too much about the future.

I still have classes, Comps exams, and applying to PhD programs this year. I can’t lose focus, but at the same time, I need to remind myself to enjoy what I have right now. I’m always thankful to God for my life, family, friends, and everything. Yet I’m constantly reminded that I do have a habit of staying in my comfort zone. Not that it’s all bad because there are also great opportunities and happiness that lie there too, but I don’t want to miss what’s right in front of me and any opportunities that might arise or that I could create through my actions. Sometimes all it takes is making that first step is: going to a certain event (such as seeing a friend’s band), starting up a conversation, writing that first sentence, inviting people, finding something new to read/watch/listen, delving into a new relationship or maybe being completely silent and observe the world. After you make that step it makes you see the world from a new perspective, makes you realize that new happy experiences can happen in familiar places, and/or do something special. There are plenty of things that I need & want to do. Some aspects of my life that I really want to accomplish. All I can do is try to schedule, prioritize, make an initiative and work towards what is really important. Afterwards, let it be in God’s hands. Also I need to remember to not feel too guilty if I don’t get what I want done each day.

Even though I’m on break from grad school at the moment before my next class starts in July, I hope to accomplish a bit more, especially in relation to writing creatively. I must look at all the opportunities available to me continuously, and not let insecurity hold me back, so that way I don’t close a door too soon. Dr. Henry Morgan (who has a pocket-watch) made me look at my great-grandfather’s watch (shown above) in a new and special way. It’s something I’ve seen most of my life as a family heirloom, but never quite thought about what experiences my great-grandfather had with the watch and why it was of value to him. Most of all, it’s a stark reminder how we value time and the past. We want to hold the past and time in our hands because we don’t want to lose what’s most precious to us &/or get hurt, but if we hold too long and stop we may not see what happens now and the potential that lies in the future.