Journal One: The Walkabout

 A Reflective Journal

Due Friday, September 9th
Email to Mary at 

  2-3 pages double spaced

First read the Barry Lopez essay, “A Literature of Place,” to get a sense of the purpose of this assignment.

Do this assignment by yourself. It’s not about “cheating,” it’s about being alone to concentrate on the assignment.

Choose an area to spend an hour walking through. It can be a walk along the Clark Fork River, an hour spent wandering over every square inch of campus, through nearby neighborhoods, a hike up to the M. It doesn’t have to be an area new to you; it can be somewhere you’ve walked (or driven past) many times before.

As you’re walking, pay close attention to what you see, whether it’s a tree over your head or pebbles or small plants by your feet. Smell the air around you. Feel the temperature. Notice any birds or small animals. Pay attention to someone’s paved front walk, to the tipsy row of garbage cans in an alley. Stop to take brief notes so you don’t lose the experience when you return from your walk to write. Be thorough. Unplug your ear buds, turn off your phone.

After recording your observations, please reflect in writing on your perspective of the place you walked. This is not a formal essay, so don’t worry about its organization. Use spell check and don’t “text,” but just relax and write. What did you see that you might not ordinarily have seen? Was anything surprising? Did a normally “dull” place seem a little more interesting with the observation of small details? Did the place seem more, or less strange to you, now that you’ve slowly walked through it? Can you reconstruct your thoughts as you walked? Did you sense any potential connection to the place? Did it remind you of anywhere else, and if so, were there memories of a connection to that other place?

Do you think you see this place differently than some other people might? How? Where do you think your personal “environmental vision” comes from? How are you connected to land or place (including a city or town)? And how has that place of your connectedness shaped who you are? (For instance, I grew up on a remote ranch where I was often alone. You can imagine how that shaped my world view and personality. So how did “your place” shape you?)

Journal Guidelines

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