Field Observation #1: Walden Directions: In addition to being a Transcendental thinker and philosopher, Thoreau was also a naturalist, and in Walden he emphasized the importance of close, scientific observation to experiencing and understanding nature. For Thoreau, nature is a mediate ground between humanity and God and a scientific approach to nature can reveal the grand designs of creation, enriching one’s emotional and spiritual life. In your field observation this week, your goal is to try and study nature through Thoreau’s approach. You should spend at least 30-45 minutes outside in sustained observation and reflection. Try and select a spot to sit/stand in place to observe the environment around you. While observing, you should take notes (pen and paper or on an electronic device). Then, when you are done making your observation, you should write up your thoughts and reflections, addressing the following points: 1.) First, select a plant or tree or other natural object that you have not noticed before, or paid much attention to. Spend some time trying to describe it as accurately and detailed as possible. You may also, à la Thoreau, make a sketch or drawing of the plant or tree that you are observing. 2.) If a scientific study (close, precise observation) of nature can reveal the grand designs of creation, what does your observation suggest to you about creation, divinity, humanity, life, the universe, etc.? You might also wish to reflect on your own inner state and your own spiritual and emotional life in relation to your surroundings. Guidelines: Length: a minimum of 2 full pages, typed & double-spaced Due Date: You should complete and submit your Field Observation no later than Friday by 11:59 PM Submission: Make sure to submit your essay as an attachment (Word document); do not cut and paste the essay into the text box.
book link: Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/205/205-h/205-h.htm