While I was walking in the woods I found this bridge. It made me reflect on how many people must have crossed it. The years of wear could be seen. It seems like a branch was holding this bridge up. I am not sure if it was part of the underground railroad or not. It was near the giant tree. I know that the Quakers were some of the first groups of organized people to help free the ensalved Africans. That still does not change the agony and sadness they carried in their hearts. For the longest time I thought I would be able to sense see the pain and sorrow if I touched the tree. Obviously by just touching a tree I would not get a vision that sends me back into the future. However, when I came upon the tree it was still equally breathtaking. It is so tall that it seems like it is reaching to the heavens assisting all the souls lost along the way reach it. The circumference of the trunk is so large that not even the strongest of bulldozers would be able to knock it down. Oh the stories this tree holds. If only I could hear it tell them. The Guilford library website does a thorough job of explaining the significance of the tree that still stands today.
As society advances technologically, we see that human interaction declines. As human interaction declines, there is less of a chance to meet someone who you truly connect with. Industrialization has been a gateway for our society to evolve to what it is today. Many factories opened as well as many businesses. Human beings continue to find new ways of making money and life more efficient. Though, there are several things that have diminished and continue to fade. In this new age where women are allowed to work and make their own money, raising children or having any at all takes the backseat, and there is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone has the same aspirations and certainly not everyone wants to be a mother or parent. However, the issue is that basic human interaction and relationship formation has faded and has become heavily dependent on technology. People do not meet in person anymore simply due to the fact that there is an entire world at everyone’s fingertips. So physical human connection is on the road to becoming obsolete. What many people seem to forget is that we still need some form of care and human interaction in order to thrive.
Society has evolved and has faced various transitions over the past 100 years. One phenomenon that has drastically changed is marriage rates. Before the industrial revolution, economy was more agricultural based. Agricultural economies take more labor power to thrive and produce. That being said, people were more likely to have a lot of kids in order to provide that labor to cultivate the land. However, when the Industrial Revolution began, the family dynamic started to change seeing as how factories began to form and workers were needed. These factories paid more than what farms would provide. Work started to not be at home anymore but away from it. Which in turn affected family structure as well.
There’s something funny about thinking what it’s like to be human. Humans are very frail creatures. Easily killed. We have created weapons to make it even easier to kill among us. Can humans even be considered humans at all? It seems that we resemble animals more than what you would call a human. Sometimes even worse. In reality, we just found a new way to fight and kill among ourselves. We’re like lions competing over territory. Yet lions fight more fairly than humans. We don’t settle for killing one person, we have to wipe out whole cities. All these wars that have been fought and for what reason? It makes no sense to me. People come up with ways of justifying inhumane behavior. It seems as if the world is in turmoil and has been for many centuries. There have been an insane amount of advances in our technology that make our life a lot easier. However, it seems to be destroying our planet. Humans have a way of killing life forms that we may need down the line.
I believe that the idea of being a human is still Eurocentric. The idea of the human experience was only given one right answer. The colonists were afraid of what they did not understand. The people in Africa and the Americas that were developing and dare I say thriving in their own right, were stripped away of their humanity. They were treated worse than animals, tortured, enslaved and killed for no reason. I believe as humans, we have the right to live, be treated kindly and express our ideas. A diverse culture is a rich culture. Each society and culture had something to contribute to this world. There is no right way to be human. There never was. The way of life of other human beings was criminalized and looked down upon.
Many people fail to see just how our home is dying. This egotistical way of thinking is so human. It’s terrifying. Of course these advances are nice. We are able to exchange ideas and travel to places no one would dream of doing so easily. The airplane is one of the amazing inventions that has expanded our world and perspective. Humans are quite curious creatures. That was what I believe to be a motive for many of our inventions. One recent invention that has expanded our horizons more is the internet. We get to meet people from all over the world just by sitting in front of a screen. Which further enhances our understanding of the human experience.
As much destruction that humans have caused, we have also enhanced our own lifestyle. Though, I must wonder what we have done to enhance the health of our own planet. When I think of humans, our bad characteristics stand out. We have done so much damage to our home yet there is something potentially beautiful within us. The beauty of intelligence and independent thought. We have developed knowledge and adapted rapidly to our surroundings. If only we could use the power we have for something other than war or destruction, maybe we could live in harmony. Though that seems like a beautiful dream. Humankind is plagued by greed and desires. No one seems to ever be truly settled with where they are. We have consumed rainforests and killed off species of animals without a second thought. Even if some of us are conscious of it, we will continue to be plagued and no change will happen.
This picture was taken a couple days after my failed attempt at a walk. My friend and I decided to sit down near the lake instead. In the more woodsy area where geese do not realm. I should note I am very afraid of geese. I do not like geese near me. They’re terrifying creatures. It was a nice, peaceful place. I found an old article in the Guilfordian from 2006 written by Davis Greene called “Sediment build-up deteriorates Guilford’s lake.” This article made me reflect on not only how the lake is now not swimmable but the meaning of it has changed. The article stated that the lake used to be a popular spot to swim and boat but those activities are now banned. As stated by someone from Guilford, it would be a liability to let students swim in the lake. The lake is pretty but I would not go inside and risk getting sick in order to have a swim. Well, I can not even swim so I wouldn’t jump into a body of water without really knowing how deep it is. I have always wanted to canoe in the lake though. That seems a little safer. Technically, you are not in the water. Even so, it’s unfortunate to have lost activities that were so fun. I recall my freshman year the most.
I think it was the happiest time at Guilford honestly. I actually went down to the lake to read all the time. I would go at least twice a week and read a book. This was when I had time to do so. Nowadays, I have been caught up in life and homework. So, I guess this blog is an excuse to be outside. It is really a change of pace from what I am used to. You could usually find me in the Bauman basement in the computer lab or my room. The only thing I really did or do, even before the coronavirus was be in my room. I always had something to do on the computer. Which is to be expected because of my major, Computer Technology Information Systems. Some of my fondest memories are at the lake. It reminds me of happier times. Water in general signifies life. Whether it’s polluted or crystal clear. It’s amazing how things grow with it. For example, algae is still growing in our lake. I know it seems annoying and destructive but it’s still a form of life. I guess you could say any type of life signifies hope in a sense. It is more sad to see nothing grow at all. Also, not to mention those mean geese again but they are still chilling at the lake. Along with some ducks. Those ducks are so much more chill even if one of them did run me off too. Yes, I have a complicated relationship with nature. I like it but it scares me. I still appreciate its beauty and gifts that it gives us.
This obviously a Fatima not in her natural habitat. I had not been to the Guilford woods in a long time. There was a small detail that I had forgotten, it’s freaking muddy! The clothes worn were not appropriate for the weather at the time. It was very uncomfortable. It reminds me of the year we had several bad storms, I forgot what year. I went for a jog and noticed so many trees had fallen and debris. I had no clue why. Until my mom called and informed me that there was literally a hurricane that had brushed the coast and the effects were felt almost statewide. I had slept through the entire storm. I literally sleep through anything. I had to really train myself to not sleep through my alarms. Even now I still do it. Anyway, there was not much we saw that day. After heavy rainfall the past couple days it was not the best place to stroll around. It is so interesting seeing the remains of an old trail or projects that were done in the woods. The place we were walking led to a bridge that has old stepping stones in front of it. Last time I went there the bridge was broken. It has been repaired though. The other side of the bridge was still a lot muddier than where we had been walking. I have to restate the fact I was not ready for the mud that day. However, it was not all bad. Along our very short way I found a tiny thin tree still attempting to grow.
It used other trees around it as support. It was a rather unique tree. I could not tell you what type of tree it was. So please refer to the picture above. This reminded me of the time we talked about species interaction in a class once. I can’t remember when exactly but I remember talking about competition, parasitism, commensalism and mutualism. Competition is when two or more species are battling for the energy or food source, which makes both negatively affected. Parasitism is similar but one species is at a disadvantage while the other is benefitting. Commensalism is when one species is benefitting from another but the one is unaffected. Mutualism is when both species are benefiting from the interaction. I say all this to say that even if I do not know close to nothing about nature, I know this one thing about species interaction. Whenever I study the trees or plants, this is kind of what I think about. It’s about the only thing I remember from that class. I think I mainly remember because humans were categorized as parasites in the food web. Which I could not agree more with. You have to wonder what the trees would say if they could talk. Just imagining all the stories they would tell. That’s why it’s so sad when trees are torn down. They have hundreds of years of history.