English III has been an interesting journey. When I first stepped into the classroom I thought I was fairly good at writing essays and timed writings, since I never did too bad in English II Pre-AP. However, after the first essay I was a little shocked at how much I sucked. I was also forced to stop procrastinating my writings. I found that if I write a solid rough draft then I would benefit more from peer editing. It was quite a valuable change of bad habit.
I enjoyed the class discussions. Hearing so many in-depth thoughts and opinions was an amazing experience. I also liked hearing Coach Goodwyn talking about his personal experiences and connecting them to the topic we are discussing. He could always make everything we learn interesting. It made me realize that some seemingly irrelevant topics we discussed were walking close to our lives. I have also had the fortune to see the “coach-side” of Goodwyn and heard some valuable morals of sportsmanship (of life) he often said to his swimmers that motivated me to do the best I could ( it actually made me want to join the swim team :)). I was truly fortunate to have such a passionate and inspiring teacher for English III AP.
Transcendentalism strikes me as a set of ideology that fits me well. It emphasizes the power of oneself and the strong connection between men and nature. I have always thought about this connection whenever my mind started wondering around. Nature has fascinated me since my childhood. This sense of fascination only intensified after I went on the nature field trip in English II. Even though I loved jumping into nature’s embrace and playing around in the woods since I was young, I have never thought that the trip has had such a strong impact in me. After going home I suddenly found myself annoyed and even disgusted by the ipod that I always kept at my side. So instead of jumping into social networks like before, I played some music instead and sat on the couch, experiencing a complete calmness in years. It felt like I was at home, that nature has always been my home and I finally returned to it that day. It was an extraordinary feeling.
Transcendentalism reminds me of a Chinese idiom: “天人合一”，meaning the merging of man and the sky. I find the fact that we are made of star dust, that we share the same atoms in our body as do any other existences on Earth, living or nonliving, extremely powerful and overwhelming. When I was little I always thought that science was the cold truth, the governing law of the universe. However, now looking from another perspective, I realized that the universe runs with indifference while mankind, with its vibrant curiosity, chooses to “discover” the patterns in the sky. We spent thousands of years looking for this pattern, and we gave them names: physics, chemistry, biology, etc. This brand new type of thinking gives me excitement: just think of the possibilities outside of these rules!
I have always wanted to live in the woods. For some reason despite growing up in the environment that was full of greed and faking smiles, along with a dozen successful adults demonstrating those qualities every single day in the society, I have stayed away from those popular groups that reeked of sycophancy. I was tired of the societal problems involving money and political tension. They bore me to death; so I guess it was not surprising that I would love a life in the woods, away from all the pointless problems that I am surprised people still willingly entangle themselves in just to live a happier (richer) life.
When I was in third grade I read a novel called “Wolf Totem”. It was one of those literatures that had such a strong impact on my life that it was safe to say it changed my view of the world and altered my personality (then again I was only in primary school so my mind could be swayed easily). Based on true stories, the entire novel revolved around the wolves of Mongolia and their relationships with man. When in the end almost all the wolves have been slaughtered, I could see that something died in every character in the novel. Such is the connection between man and nature. We all live under her winds, after all.
Clouds pass by without swooshing sounds of birds’ wings flapping. A wolf can lay on rock and allow air to carry its pack’s warmth to it. Sky is howling with all kinds of sounds humans cannot, or will not, find. Man call an animal “it”, and think of “it” as a lowly, living thing. I find it unjust for humans to arrogantly don “it” with such a sad connotation, for an animal can act as a man and it has an ability to bond with man. A group of atoms in forms of humans obtain vast information through communication from mouths. A group of atoms in forms of animals gain vast information through paws and wings. To animals, if clouds blind Moon, wind shall blow. A man has no caring about such trivial information.
As our pitiful world turns on and on around a burning sun, humans start to furnish living conditions in vain, trying to bring good humor to daily living. Building with bricks and plowing with furious passion, all for a right to stay in this world. Animals stray in groups, man stay in groups. Man is always inquiring, “it” is always living, and our world is drowning, as always.