Presentation Title

Blindness

Abstract

The purpose of this interdisciplinary directed studies was to examine how our familiarity with the places we inhabit blinds us to their beauty. Using artistic mapping and creative non-fiction, I explored my own blindness in the landscape I call home, Juniper Ridge. Through writing, I follow my mindset as I explored the natural history of a trail I walk weekly. As each season progressed, I realized that parts of the landscape I had once deemed lackluster hold a great amount of beauty and are worthy of my attention. Additionally, the production of an artistic map entitled Close to Home, allowed me to understand the Juniper Ridge area as a whole. By observing elements individually in the landscape– the towering Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) that coat the hillside in a rich green, the small wolf lichen (Letharia vulpine) that cling to those who have fallen, or the sweet bees (Agapostemon) that pollinate those flowers we love so dearly – I grew a deeper connection to the landscape and learned that all its pieces deserve our respect and attention. Collectively, the two parts of my project – creative writing and artistic mapping – dispersed the blindness cultivated through familiarity. My goal in sharing this work is to inspire others to find beauty in the over-looked places of their own lives.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Lyn Baldwin

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Blindness

The purpose of this interdisciplinary directed studies was to examine how our familiarity with the places we inhabit blinds us to their beauty. Using artistic mapping and creative non-fiction, I explored my own blindness in the landscape I call home, Juniper Ridge. Through writing, I follow my mindset as I explored the natural history of a trail I walk weekly. As each season progressed, I realized that parts of the landscape I had once deemed lackluster hold a great amount of beauty and are worthy of my attention. Additionally, the production of an artistic map entitled Close to Home, allowed me to understand the Juniper Ridge area as a whole. By observing elements individually in the landscape– the towering Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) that coat the hillside in a rich green, the small wolf lichen (Letharia vulpine) that cling to those who have fallen, or the sweet bees (Agapostemon) that pollinate those flowers we love so dearly – I grew a deeper connection to the landscape and learned that all its pieces deserve our respect and attention. Collectively, the two parts of my project – creative writing and artistic mapping – dispersed the blindness cultivated through familiarity. My goal in sharing this work is to inspire others to find beauty in the over-looked places of their own lives.

 

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