Shared experiences in nature

Comparing the appearances of different places at different times can inspire an awareness of unity and equality.

This image reflects sunrise. I was among thousands of people at Obama’s second inaugural address on January 21, 2013 and we all saw the same vision of the sun rising over the capitol at about 7am. It was a chilly day even though we were all huddled so close together. I was looking forward to the sunlight to help warm us up. The sun stayed up for about 3 hours before a cloud covered it, but by that time we were all excited for Obama’s arrival and speech. Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet, highlighted that we are under “one sun,” “one light,” “one wind,” and “one sky” in his poem “One Today.” This helped convey the idealistic equality we have among each other as part of humanity. The sun and sky work in unison to create our “day” and instill a light that makes us feel compassion and love for each other. Our ability to feel these emotions is what can make us feel connected and equal.


I took the sunset photograph in Ithaca from a perspective that I encounter daily. The sun was setting behind Goldwyn Smith Hall, trees, and hills. I feel so lucky when I see the sunset because the vision only lasts for a short time and sometimes it is blocked by heavy clouds. Seeing the sunset can be very calming because it symbolizes one days progress and freedom to venture even it is to rest at home. This image represents Blanco’s “one sun–light–wind–sky” and the sunset is another way that we can see a form of equality. We are all have the same opportunity to see a sunset and reflect about the day.

sunset Additionally, seeing a familiar place change overtime instills the idea of transience and reinforces ideas of equality. As the scenery next to the bus stop changes, I can’t help but imagine how everyone else might feel when they also see what I see. The images below are of the same place on the Cornell campus, notice the recurring green pine tree in all of the photos.

fall trees

This image was taken in Fall 2012. This was my first Fall in Ithaca and I loved seeing the red, yellow, and orange colored leaves! While I was waiting for the bus, I looked for a part of the land that had a lot of different colored trees in one place. I knew that the leaves would soon fall off and I really wanted to have the memory of the diversity of colored leaves with me. I remember someone else was also taking a picture at the same time as me and it made me feel like they might have been thinking like I was. We both wanted to preserve the memory of the warm colored fall leaves.

first snow

This image is of the first snow fall in December 2012. Seeing the first snow led me to understand how winters could look “cool” with their blue hues. It looked so beautiful to me even though all of the leaves were gone. The patches of snow and grass conveyed the transition from fall to winter. There was a feeling of anticipation and excitement that I imagined the entire town felt after the first snow fall of the season.

snow storm

The snow falls from the anticipated big winter storm in the northeast in February 2013. With white, black, and grey scenery and small icicle snow drops falling on top of me, I imagine that I should also appreciate this. I could see the snow piling up on my book bag and imagined it was also piling up on my head, just like it was on other people’s heads and on rooftops. I imagined everyone outside was getting snowed on and asking themselves when it would stop.

I saw the snow fall while I was on the bus and it fell as I walked home. As I walked up the hill, I saw the snow drops piling up on the hill and making the ground white. I saw faint marks of another person’s footsteps and imagined that someone else would later see mine. I slowly walked up the hill because I didn’t want to slip and fall. As I finally got to the top of the hill two other people passed me. I imagined what my footsteps looked like and felt a bit embarrassed because I pictured them as being small feet with small spaces in between each step. I observed the footprints they left. I was especially interested in looking at the footprints of the person who walked outward and left really hard marks with their shoes. I imagined that everyone had different walking patterns and would at some point observe another persons’ as long as the snow existed and there were footprints.

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