This is a little outdated since we did the nature walk so long ago but there was a lot to learn about that time that I have just got to thinking about it. We talked a lot about what is nature and how can we distinguish nature from “non-nature”? After the quick meditation that allowed us to bring ourselves back into the present, forget all we had to do that day, and calmed us down, we were told to see the changes from being inside to being outside.
When inside as building, such as Hagerty, the climate is controlled. There is no breeze, no direct sunlight, no chance for rain to start drizzling on your head and the heat we generate is the only source of heat in that room (at least during the summer). While meditating I could feel my own body heat and how I was heating the cold and lifeless chair I was sitting in. My breaths were not interrupted by anything and it was so quiet that I could hear the breaths of others around me. Once I was able to focus on myself and not on what I had to do the rest of the day is when all of my other senses were heightened. This helped me distinguish the exact changes, more precisely, from the walk up the stairs and out the door.
The walk to the door was slow. Everyone took their time to get the the door, probably because after meditation everyone was a little too relaxed. When opening the door, you could feel the metal handle was cold, there was a breeze of warmth that flowed into the building and the sunlight made me squint until my eyes adjusted. The transition felt good. I like being outside rather than being cooped up in a cold building all day. I get enough of the cold during the winter and especially during the polar vortex. When the sun hits your face after being in a dark and cold classroom it is like a boost of energy that I personally sense. The colors of the outside are definitely more vivid than sitting inside a neutral color classroom.
Once we kept walking toward the south oval, all of the distractions came into view. The natural ones being animals, insects, falling leaves, wide ranges of colors and the breeze. Most of the other distractions are man-made. Such as lawn mowers, cars, bikes, leaf blowers, buses, planes and helicopters. All of those distractions aside, I was still able to focus on the beauty that we were seeing.
Now comes into question what is nature? We can say that all of the trees that have been there for longer than OSU was established to be nature. The wildlife that inhabit Mirror Lake and the Oval would be defined as nature. If you think of the South Oval the last couple of years, during construction of the geothermal wells, you would see only dirt on the south oval. Everything that is on the south oval now, less the giant trees, were planted by man. OSU destroyed the original nature and replaced it with their own. This is the same for Mirror Lake. Someone said that Mirror Lake was moved from its original location. The lake was made by man and not by nature. Along the way it took on and developed its own ecology but not a sense of pure nature. Everything on OSU’s campus is a man made and man regulated ecology. The grass wouldn’t grow so green without fertilizing and constant watering, Mirror lake would flood without a man-made drainage system and there would not be as many species of native trees if they were not planted by OSU.
Our campus is beautiful and a wonderful ecology/ecosystem for native animals to live in but I do not think it is pure nature. It is a mirage of nature so that the student can get away from the monotony of the classroom. This is relaxing to many students because of the theme of biophilia. We really like to see trees, flowers, leaves falling in autumn, ducks and sometime squirrels. I appreciate OSU for the upkeep of the Ovals, Mirror lake and all of the garden. It is just sad to say that is was all untouched at one point but now it just a shell of what it used to be.