So, I was saying that I have “rediscovered” my passion…and this Eastern Redbud — this is what I mean. It is beautiful. Straight up, flat out beautiful. We’re learning about how plants can un-differentiate in biology, and I’m pretty sure that’s what this is. I have no clue how this actually happens, but this is my guess: the bark is scarred / wounded. Out of that scar in the tree trunk, a few cells which used to be bark undifferentiate and become growing stem tissue. At the end of those stems, a bud forms, and the bud transforms into a flower. If the bark is scarred enough…you get this effect. A tree whose limbs appear to be made out of flowers. Beautiful.

To come from winter, dead, leafless and to turn into this — what a change! The tree is exploding with happiness and enthusiasm for the impending summer.

And that’s how I feel about environmental science. Like I’ve been hiding in the dark, jaded and apathetic about what Emory calls an “Environmental Studies” major. Really, it’s a glorified anthropology major which sometimes uses the environment to discuss how it has affected humans. And sometimes it ignores the environment all together. It is entirely…frustrating.

Now, however, things are starting to change. The field trip last weekend has instilled a bit more enthusiasm and optimism in me. Talking with David and being outside helped me realize that it’s not that I have grown dispassionate about Environmental Science as a whole — it is that the Environmental Studies department at Emory is worthless. Okay, that’s a bit harsh. It’s worth something to the law and business and policy majors. But to those who really want to be outside? To those who want to learn the names of trees and plants and animals? Well…simply put, there are better programs out there.

There’s another field trip this weekend. Well, technically two. Tomorrow, I go out with John, David, and one other kid who needs a make-up field trip; we’ll explore Emory campus and see what we find. Saturday & Sunday, I go to the North Georgia Mountains with about half the class; we’ll be focusing on wildflowers and different plant communities. Of course, the N. Georgia field trip doesn’t promise to be as good as last weekend — this field trip actually has other girls on it (so sad!); also, we won’t be canoeing or hiking as much, but rather walking and sketching. Even worse, David will probably not be attending, so I won’t get to talk with him more this weekend, and in all honestly, that makes me a little sad — it is easier to be excited about Environmental Science when I have him to discuss it with and remind me that it’s not all anthropology — there are plants and animals and birds involved, too.

Though the trips this weekend cannot stand up to the swamp, I think they will still be a blast — at the very worst, I’ll be outside for three days. At the best, it will reinforce my newly-rediscovered passion for everything that’s not a man or even man-made…


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