Book Creator

EDUC 483 Travelogue

by Shuxiao Li

Pages 4 and 5 of 28

Shuxiao, L. (2021). Into the forest [photograph]. Sunshine Coast , BC, Canada.
Course: EDUC 483 Curriculum Outdoor Environments II

Name: Shuxiao Li (Sheena)


Prof: Nancy van Groll
Land Acknowledgment
Shuxiao, L. (2021). Sky View [photograph]. Downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Acknowledging with gratitude and respect that we are on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Watuth), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), shíshálh (Sechelt), Lil’Wat, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Peoples. The lands on which we gather on, study on, and explore on were never given to us, but remain as stolen and unceded lands. I have been living in Tsleil-Watuth for four years with deep respect. As a newcomer to this land, I appreciate what this land has offered me.
In this travelog -in order to re-establish the connection, care, and accountability for the other living and nonliving entities from a non-anthropocentric perspective- I am an active participant in nature. I have paid close attention to what is unseen and have the ability to see and hear the life within trees, rivers, mushrooms, water and wind. Through lively storytelling and different forms of drawing and photography, I have evoked a desire to sit with, listen to, and respect nature’s nuances (Kimmerer, 2013). I recount my encounters with others and make ideas and thoughts visible and valued as I unfold the stories through materials, encounters, and the environment.

  Stepping out the door and situating oneself in nature and acknowledging the relationships which exist among humans and more-than-humans, children, educators can create a deep union of understanding. Pedagogical encounters through ecological animism can provoke curiosity, thus enhancing children and educators’ ability to respond to and care for all matters. Through having a reciprocal interaction, beyond-human entanglements such as urbanization, extraction, children, educators and nature are co-created, co-existed, can co-contributed to all the life forms.
Travelogue Entry 1 ----- The Moss----May 14th
Flickering, gleaming, shimmering, the scattered sunlight filtered through the layers of leaves. A drop of dew fell on my camera lens and blurred my view. I photograph the forest through the water droplets; the tree branches touch and interconnect with each other like a web in the sky. While I am walking with my camera and in search of ecological aesthetics, I sense, research and notice the nuanced, intimate things around me. I think about existence radically from a non-anthropocentric perspective regarding the ethical, spiritual, and social aesthetics of nature (Rousell & Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, 2020). Accreting over time with human and more-than-human entities, the forest is always there to welcome and include us as a part of it. 
Trace and retrace my steps; I become the slowest person on the path and investigate what might be hidden. The vibrant green of the moss on the tree draws me and calls me to move closer and closer until my camera lenses cannot focus. The unique textures, shapes and colors become vibrant. These mosses are the lungs of the forest, filtering the air along with the host. They partner up and live in an interdependent relationship. Following the moss and looking all the way up, this tree is occupied by the moss. How do they live together? What is the feeling of being lived on?

Each moss is individual but looking at it from a distance is like countless hands intertwined and reaching out for fresh air. Its gesture towards me provokes my desire to sketch, draw and explore further with the tree. I zoom in on this photography on my screen and cover it with transparent paper. While I am tracing the textures of the moss, the invisible hands take shapes and become visible. The moss is a part of my relationship to fingering this out. When I touch the moss, the moss is touching me. Through this bodily engagement, I cultivate interrelationships in between.
My curiosities lead me to think beyond my physical capacities and consciousness. I close my eyes and resituate myself in this common world. I hear the wind whisper and pass by each piece of moss. In the world of moss, the feelings of the non-human entities are never the same because the feelings have always been felt differently by the specific creatures who actually experience it. Those distinctive feelings shape who we are. However, nature is like a “vibratory continuum” ( Rousell& Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, 2020, p. 1666), allowing interaction between entities and creating new potential for life through dynamic relations. 
Travelogue Entry 2 ----- Origin Story ----May 21st
Part 1: To Meet water
Water is the source of life. Although this is common knowledge, it is worth repeating that water is everywhere, in the air and in our breath; in fact, it is one of the most common substances on earth. As such, there is a lot of conversation around this topic at various levels, from common people to experts, as to how to preserve it, how to optimally use it and how not to contaminate it. For most people, however, the major issue is that of safe drinking water. 

In Canada, unlike many other countries, including my home country of China, tap water is safe to drink. Although I am aware of this difference, I still have a water filtration system in my water jug in my room. I often ask myself why I need to filter something already drinkable, what elements are filtered out and if they are harmful to our bodies. I take out the water filter and observe carefully with those questions in mind. I can detect thousands of small black and white granular balls in the liner of the water filter. When water passes through each small ball, the impurities are filtered out. I pause and wonder why humans, among all other living beings who share the same environment, cannot tolerate natural water without any artificial filtering. Do animals have a more advanced digestive system? This question inspires me to step into nature and explore. 
Part 2: Water-story encounter
I acknowledge with gratitude that I am situated on Lynn Creek, which is on the traditional land of the sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Watuth). Walking towards the creek, I could hear the water before I arrived. The curiosity, the mystery of the gurgling water sound, brings me to the riverbank. I have a desire to touch the water and build an intimate relationship with it. I lean my body down near the water. The moment my hand touches the water, my memories flash back to the stream in front of my childhood house. Water allows us to hold special memories; I still remember that water was not scarce resource in my city. A stream still passes my house and children are able to stand in the water and enjoy the cool water in the hot summer. Where does the water go and “who has access to it and who doesn’t?” (Polson et al., 2017).