Welcome to The Valve

Valve Links

The Front Page
Statement of Purpose

John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Advanced Search

RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom

RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom


Powered by Expression Engine
Logo by John Holbo

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.



About Last Night
Academic Splat
Amardeep Singh
Bemsha Swing
Bitch. Ph.D.
Blogging the Renaissance
Butterflies & Wheels
Cahiers de Corey
Category D
Charlotte Street
Cheeky Prof
Chekhov’s Mistress
Chrononautic Log
Cogito, ergo Zoom
Collected Miscellany
Completely Futile
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
Conversational Reading
Critical Mass
Crooked Timber
Culture Cat
Culture Industry
Early Modern Notes
Easily Distracted
fait accompi
Ferule & Fescue
Ghost in the Wire
Giornale Nuovo
God of the Machine
Golden Rule Jones
Grumpy Old Bookman
Ideas of Imperfection
In Favor of Thinking
In Medias Res
Inside Higher Ed
jane dark’s sugarhigh!
John & Belle Have A Blog
John Crowley
Jonathan Goodwin
Kathryn Cramer
Languor Management
Light Reading
Like Anna Karina’s Sweater
Lime Tree
Limited Inc.
Long Pauses
Long Story, Short Pier
Long Sunday
Making Light
Maud Newton
Michael Berube
Motime Like the Present
Narrow Shore
Neil Gaiman
Old Hag
Open University
Pas au-delà
Planned Obsolescence
Quick Study
Rake’s Progress
Reader of depressing books
Reading Room
Reassigned Time
Reeling and Writhing
Return of the Reluctant
Say Something Wonderful
Shaken & Stirred
Silliman’s Blog
Slaves of Academe
Sorrow at Sills Bend
Sounds & Fury
Stochastic Bookmark
Tenured Radical
the Diaries of Franz Kafka
The Elegant Variation
The Home and the World
The Intersection
The Litblog Co-Op
The Literary Saloon
The Literary Thug
The Little Professor
The Midnight Bell
The Mumpsimus
The Pinocchio Theory
The Reading Experience
The Salt-Box
The Weblog
This Public Address
This Space: The Fire’s Blog
Thoughts, Arguments & Rants
Tingle Alley
University Diaries
Unqualified Offerings
What Now?
William Gibson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nature Walk

Posted by Bill Benzon on 11/22/11 at 01:44 PM


One takes a nature walk, I assume, to experience the natural world. It is not clear to me, however, just how deeply one’s experience of nature depends on a sharp division between nature and society, or nature and culture. To the extent that the nature walk depends on such a distinction it is, of course, problematic. For the walker is always, by definition, inextricably bound up in society and culture, no matter how long the walk nor how remote that place.


My nature walks do not take place in remote locations. I doubt that I’ve even been to a truly remote location, not when flying over the Grand Canyon in a small plane, not when walking in a deep wooded glen at summer camp near Altoona, Pa., nor when walking with a woman in a field near Laramie, Wyoming. For all of these places were within easy distance of roads, villages, and towns.


These days I take my nature walks in Liberty State Park, which is in Jersey City, on the shore of New York Harbor opposite the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. That is to say, in the middle of one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. Hardly a wilderness.


I’m told that this, more or less, is where Henry Hudson first set foot in the New World in 1609, near a footpath the Lenni Lanape walked down to the shore to fish. Their footpath became a road, and that road became a street, Communipaw Avenue. I live a block off Communipaw on Van Horne, a Dutch name I assume.


That’s near the northern end of the park. There’s an abandoned railroad station there, and a ferry dock, from which one can get a ride to the Statue of Liberty. Which I’ve not done. I mostly photograph the statue from afar, on my walks at the southern end of the park. There’s a salt marsh down there, and an interpretive center that tells you about the wildlife in that marsh and more widely in the general area.


I don’t really know, as I’ve only been there once and didn’t pay much attention to the exhibits. They were mostly about the birds—ducks are plentiful, and I’ve seen a white heron or two—which don’t interest me that much. Don’t have the patience, or the camera, to photograph them. I’m more interested in the flora, the weeds, flowers and trees. The interpretive center didn’t seem to have any exhibits devoted to them, though one did identify those yellow flowers and goldenrods. “Ah, goldenrods, that’s what they are. Now I remember.” And so I did.


I generally, almost always, in fact, so far, always, have my camera. I like to take pictures. It would be a bit misleading to say that I’m in a meditative state when I’m walking nature, taking pictures. But not terribly misleading. I’m in a zone.


Certainly not an exclusive zone. My mind does wander. I DO hear the planes and helicopters that fly overhead. Once I’m off the path I’ve got to attend to my footing, for the ground can be a bit treacherous, low crawling vines to trip on, leaves piling and obscuring the firmness, rocks here and there, and so forth.


Looking for shots, always looking for shots. One here, three there, move back, or ahead, to the left or right, depending on the framing I’m after. Maybe catch the sun in a corner or along an edge. Whatever calls.



Add a comment:



Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: