“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir
The game Okami is a beautiful title that puts you in control of Amaterasu, the Shinto goddess of the sun, who comes to earth in the guise of a white wolf. Throughout the game your goal is to heal the world around you, giving life to plants and animals. The actions of the game, in essence, involve nature fixing itself. While Okami was not necessarily created with the purpose of displaying the importance of biodiversity in ecosystems, the wolf-like goddess affects her environment much like real wolves do in their natural world. Wolves have such a massive impact on eco-systems, in fact, that their very existence changed the geography of a landscape.
Two weeks ago the Southeastern Raptor Center took in an injured Golden Eagle who came in from Northern Alabama. While we are keeping its medical record disclosed, this species of eagle has been a rarity in the Southeast region of the United States, with the latest appearance dating back to 2007.
For the past week or so, I’ve been staring at a blank word document trying to make myself write something. Anything.
It’s not that I didn’t have anything to write. I have to finish writing features on games, work on job applications, create my class curriculum. The list goes on.
But the word document just sat, its cursor mocking my gaze with its blinks.
It’s my first true encounter of writer’s block; something I like to think I’ve encountered before on those long nights, writing my seminar papers at one in the morning, invoking a glass of red wine as my muse. But never to this extent.
(This piece was part of my graduate research in environmental rhetoric and counter-culture… looking at how literature and media has shaped our modern view of the environment leading into the National Parks movement.)
The nineteenth-century in America was, undeniably, a time of growth. Between the years of 1820 and 1870 the industrial revolution birthed an economy that was threatened by the British. Railroads expanded across the country and cities began to attract agriculturally-based communities with the promise of fruitful employment. During this substantial industrial shift, America’s arts culture ultimately shifted as well, introducing the Transcendentalist movement into its literary era.  In short, the Transcendentalist movement was one based around the idea of existentialism and the philosophical concept that humanity is inherently good, but has been corrupted by society. The cleansing of this corruption, thus, is to venture away from society in order to find the “self”; to look at itself on the inside rather than focus externally on materialism. Prolific writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Muir fathered this rather historically Romanticized movement.