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October is tomorrow

Okay, so a month later, I suppose I'd like to write a bit about college. I'm not sure what I want to say, or where I should start.
The first thing I want to talk about is trees. Six or eight months ago I realize that while I really loved trees, I didn't know much about them. I wouldn't have known an oak tree from a sycamore. I think that part of loving something or someone is naturally wanting to know about them. Tom tells me that N. T. Wright says "Knowing is a form of loving." So a little over a month ago I bought myself a "Field Guide to North American Trees." So, starting more or less from when I got here I've been learning the names of trees. One free afternoon, I set out to the lawn in front of my dorm to name trees. Finding sugar maples, paper birches, ginkgo's, and oaks - I was surprised by how almost instantaneously my love for trees grew!  Weeks later, I notice immediately the shape and size of each tree's leaf, the type of bark it has, what fruit or flower grows on it. It's wonderful. Soon I began to notice just how much diversity in the trees there was! The front lawn of Blanchard Hall, one the academic buildings, is like a miniature arboretum. There is a bald cypress that has no business being there, but there it is! I begin to really love trees.

I am constantly surprised by the capacity people have to matter to me. That the new people I am starting to know and live with can be important to me, the friends I'm starting to make . . . I begin to love them a little bit. People who only weeks ago I had never met or imagined before, have meaning to me. I care about them.

I didn't really consider how I would relate to my professors. But I find myself seeking their approval, especially my philosophy prof. Somehow, I suppose, I imagine if he thinks I'm bright or quick-headed then I will have confirmation that I matter, or can do well in philosophy. It's true that his approval would say something about my ability, but I seek it as some kind of affirmation of my person, that I'm worth something. It can prevent me from engaging well in class, and from humblly learning. I'm not here in this class, in Philosophy 101 to sound smart or be affirmed, but to learn. I'm here to be humbled, to be built up, to be challenged - Oh! and I am! I am being challenged. It is far better than a professor just thinking I'm intelligent and not forcing me to grow. I'm very grateful for classes, and I really love learning.

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2 comments:

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

I hope you keep writing a monthly post. It was a pleasure to read this one.

Hayley Hutchins said...

Indeed, your mom is right, a pleasure to read! You make me gather up a bit of affection for trees -- they're all labeled with neat little placards at my school, and they've imported all these interesting varieties, I should pay them more heed.

You sound perfectly content, and well. I'm so glad you're in a place well-adapted to you, or you to it. :)