The Constant in a World of Chaos


Sitting alongside nature isn’t a place that I find myself often. Nature is more of a backdrop. The background scene of an event I’ve been waiting for, or the pretty colors behind me in a photo. I can appreciate the beauty that surrounds me, but never take special care to spend intimate time within it.

I tried to think of a place where words would come freely to me in nature, and found myself stuck in the memories that existed within these locations, rather than the intricate beauties that exist among them. The trees in my backyard that remained the backdrop of each graduation photo. The gazebo on the south side of campus where I first met the strangers that would become my best friends. I wondered why the memories clouded the beauty of every scenery to me.

For this reason I took this trip alone. I thought about bringing my boyfriend, or one of my roomates and making a day out of it, but decided that I would instead spend the day with nature.

I searched for a spot that I’d never seen before. One that would be fresh and wiped clean of memory. A place I could truly take in and appreciate. This place ended up being Kenosia Park in Rochester. A massive stretch of grass, littered with picnic tables, and spotted with people on brightly colored blankets staring into the sky.

I found my own spot among the people. A small park bench secluded by two massive trees that faced straight towards the water. The sound of others was low here, and I found myself listening for the hustle and bustle I’m so accustomed to. Instead of the typical babies crying, and people laughing I was greeted by a low humming sound. This humming came from the very top of one of my neighboring trees, the subtle movements of tiny insects blitzing their way around the very top of the trunks.

These insects were grouped together, forming a small circle at the top of the tree, looking down upon me as I gazed up towards them. I couldn’t remember the last time I truly noticed these tiny creatures, small pieces of a massive world in which they can simply shoot from place to place, barely being noticed. Quiet observers of a world occupied by bigger and more extravagent creatures. I wondered how it would feel to be an unnoticed visitor amongst an everchanging scenery.

The insects zipped down towards the water, the sun gleaming into the wide expanse of blue that laid in front of me. I looked past the lake, noticing the houses that were speckled across the land across from me. Houses that grew up long after the lake did. Families that came and went. Kids that learned to swim. The lake was a piece of these people. A constant in a world of chaos.

I realized in this moment the rarity that exists within every piece of nature. The backdrop that we constantly surround ourselves in, but never take the time to fully immerse ourselves in.

Just as the trees in my backyard signify each of my graduating years, they signify someone elses broken arm, or the spot where they had their first kiss. Memory is intrisincally connected to nature for humans. The everchanging scenery of the next event or milestone, but also a whole unspoken world left to be painted as the backdrop.

The World of Online Text and Computer Literacy

With every english class I take as a college student, I make an effort to connect myself to the content and find a way in which the material might contribute to my abilities as both a writer and a future educator. This class has challenged me in a lot of ways I’ve never experienced in a classoom before, and has adapted me with a new mindset and set of skills that I was hesistant to embrace at first. I’ve always viewed myself as someone who thrives with writing and reading on paper. I grew up fully immersed in books, using words on a page to express my happiness, sadness, and confusion as a young girl. I found myself invested in the characters and storylines I read about, and used literature as a way to find new perspectives, and ways to view the world around me. This made a class about books and computers completely foreign to me.

How could I take the concepts I was so familiar with on pen and paper and translate them virtually! My first few weeks learning about the terminal window and Visual Studio code was a tough transition, and faced me with an expected challenge. I had to work harder to understand the virtual aspect of literature and I truly believe the effort I put into understanding the code made a real difference in my connection to the course.

Learning skills like transcription and TEI taught me the importance and care that goes into decoding older works and the significance that technology can hold when gaining acess to an authors message/purpose. This question of technologys purpose in a world of literature resonated with me most deeply when taking this course. What qualities make something a book? How does online literature and creations like AI alter the world of literature?

Class discussions surrounding these questions led me to determine that the every changing nature of our world and the prevalence of technology within it give computers and the metaverse a well deserved spot within the realm of reading and writing. This is something I thought I’d never say!I feel that these reflective questions that guided class also allowed me to expand my ability to respectfully disagree with others, and have a productive conversation!

While I still connect and feel the ability to interact best with physical copies of text, I feel that this class has allowed me to establish a new relationship to my computer. This newfounded computer literacy has made it easier for me to read and annotate text online, and showed me how important it is to examine the history that exists online in the world of literature.

Following this idea of progressing communication skills, the comments we left on Walden showed me a new form of online annotation and classmate colloboration that I enjoyed! The world of online forums and their international ability to discuss varying works is such a priviledge! I feel lucky to have learned more about that through ENGL 340.

Overall this class has taught me a lot about communication, and the relationship between technology and literature that I am excited to dive deeper into.