May 25th 2012
When we first started our walk, I remember feeling quite reluctant about being out there at all. I had already been to the garden earlier that morning in Anne’s class; I didn’t really do a whole lot, just stood around and looked at the garden while Anne explained to us (the class) what she knew about the garden and the future possibilities that might be involved if we were to undertake any particular sort of gardening endeavor. So as we approached again in Stacey’s class I kind of assumed we’d be doing more or less the same business, needless to say, I was not particularly excited with what was occurring. As we circled the outside of the garden assessing the quality of the soil and the various types of plants already growing within the garden confines I began to realize how very little I knew about the various growing habits of the countless edible plants I grow in my own backyard, it felt kind of overwhelming to think of how much knowledge is really involved in growing food to feed yourself throughout the seasons.
As we started on more of a walk I began to feel incredibly displeased with the way things were turning out, I didn’t enjoy where we were walking, just across the road from a mall parking lot and a great heap of industrialized civilization, I remember thinking how bland it all felt. The idea of comprehending the habits and interactions of the extremely various plant species of the world was entirely overwhelming and my first instinct was to sit in front of a computer and read about it. I wanted to walk around the block as quickly as possible and go sit in the classroom, I’m really not even entirely sure about the exact reasoning for my line of thinking at that particular moment, but I just wasn’t into the idea of being outside. As some of the other students began to venture down a path into the forested ravine along the sidewalk I was initially incredibly hesitant to follow, I just wanted to get back to the class and be done with this meandering walk. As it became clear that everyone was going to venture down the path, I decided to commit to the journey and venture on with a slightly more engaged attitude. As soon as I was among the vibrant trunks of trees I began to feel my mind become more at ease with my predicament, no longer was there a sense of urgency to get anywhere. As we came to the bottom of the ravine a number of students became quite amused with the sense of freedom this spacious outdoor adventure had afforded them and began to venture further apart. A number of us became fascinated with the creek bed.
I decided to take my phone out at this point and film some of the water for a friend. At this initial moment, I honestly had no intention of filming anything beyond running water in a creek bed, but as soon as I started recording and realized that there was indeed going to be a constant dialogue from the interactions of my peers I decided to film with rather different intentions. We became quite detached from the main group and teachers and our little troupe ventured at an entirely different (and unconventional) path along the opposite side of the stream. It was clear the lot of us hadn’t been in the forest with a group of peers in a very long time. We were all quite excited with these new sensations of school. I will admit that our thoughts were certainly not that of scholarly intent and our observations were not entirely founded on educated speculation. To be quite frank, a lot of the words exchanged on that exclusive trek of troupe were inane banter, hardly appropriate for a classroom. None the less the energy produced by our movement undoubtedly contributed to a thriving social atmosphere, I felt a certain sense of kinsmen ship among my peers, the group of us trekking through the bush discussing the discrepancies of life.
As we rounded the bend on a path we came upon a most interesting site, a great majority of the class was standing together all staring in our direction. It then dawned on me that perhaps our little renegade was noted and unappreciated it, had they been waiting for us. Upon verbal reciprocation among some members of the waiting crowd I clarified my suspicions. We had indeed disrupted the flow of the entire trek with our little fray in the bush, I did feel slightly guilty but at the time I was really just interested in running through the woods some more.
Together the group assumed a mildly slower than ideal pace, I found this somewhat disruptive to a productive train of thought, as I had been filming this entire time I was kind of walking amongst people looking for anything that might be interesting to film. At one point there was a fellow who climbed quite high in a pine tree, I am quite pleased he did not fall to injury. I became quite bored beyond this point as our walk had taken us to the open air of a cleared park path, I longed for the forest for the trees. We progressed across the fields of the park to a pavilion where we assembled and regrouped. We were at this pavilion for some time. I was thinking much of how I would probably be late for work if I stayed for the duration of the walk, and I also found myself entirely fixated on the idea of returning to the forest I was uninterested in the teachers elaborations at this point and not at all interested at returning to the school alongside the cars of Cundles. Without further delay, I notified Stacey of my intentions to depart and began to venture back the way we came. As I passed a number of my peers, they inquired about my direction, I told them how Stacey was quite hesitant about me going back through this unsupervised route but they were quite insistent on accompanying me, I was hardly one to deny them company.
As we again entered the forest, I remember feeling quite elated with the fact that we would once again be entering the bush in a very different context than that of a supervised classroom. The group of us, I would say 6 or so, were quite keen to explore and go a different route than earlier. I remember growing slightly tired of filming but I decided to continue regardless.
The majority of our nature walk took place in the forested confines of a decently sized ravine. I particularly enjoyed walking among the pine trees as their needles would prevent any thick underbrush from developing and as such, trekking was much less intensive through these areas. I was always quite paranoid about stumbling unaware through a patch of poison ivy, but that did not happen, for which I am thankful. I was curious how much, or how little rain it would take to make the water levels rise in the creek, with the massive surface area of the ravine to divert water, I suspect not very much. It would be fascinating to see a flash flood in action.
A Forest for the Trees