Monday, November 30, 2009

Nature Poem 2

For my English 300 class we had the chance to write another nature poem. This time I decided to write about my backyard when I was younger. This is where we would play in our tree house by the creek and have bonfires and have sleepovers on the trampoline. It was the life and this poem is just a reflection of those good times.


The eternal song of youth whistles

Through the golden grass of the past.

The stream babbles across the forest floor

Dodging every tree, root, and trunk as

Log draw bridges span the great creek bed

Paving an adventure through

The treacherous territory of the imagination.

Moss seeps through the bark of the trees

Down to the jeweled pebbles and

Up to the veined canopy above

Covering the world with a velvet sage.

Through sun, through rain, through snow,

The melody carries over the glassy pond;

Sun kissed faces reflect in the water

Only to grow wrinkled and then disappear

With he setting of the copper sun.

The moon cries fiery tales that lick

The freckles of those sitting nearest

Her warm witty embrace.

The stars bounce through the heavens

Trumpeting the wishful ode

Carried on their shimmering tails.

And off on the distant horizon the beams

Of the promised morn beckon

To the golden grass.

The London Center: A Realist View

For my Humanities class we had an assingment to write a spoof on something we studied this semester. I decided I wanted to write a sort of realist view of the London Center. It is written as a letter to my grandma and I not to sugar coat anything. So this is the litteral view of the center, perhaps the stuff you don't usually hear...

Dear Grandma,

Well I decided to write you about my adventures here in England since my time is almost coming to an end. It truly has been an adventure. I arrived at Palace Court 27 and found a charming victoiran building beckoning me into its fold. I have 13 roommates and out lives are filled with much joy and laughter, little sleep, and hairballs the size of small toasters. The mice really like us too and I often find my self waking up to the scratch scratch of their little paws. It took me about a week to learn how to flush the toilet and I have mastered the art of washing my hands. Step one: Turn on both the hot and cold spouts. Step two: apply the soap to hand. Step three: swish your hands violently back and forth between the two spouts to remove the soap so you don’t burn your hands. It has been interesting not living around any boys. I can honestly say my best male friends are the missionaries serving in my ward and a middle aged coach driver named Tony. He is great and we have had some good times together. I will really miss him. It is a funny thing to wake up in the morning and head down to breakfast in your pj’s only to sit down next to your professor who is also wearing his pj’s. I have had my fill of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches due to the unlimited supply kept in the servery. The one thing that kind of bugs me is when I walk all the way down 5 flights of stairs to get a piece of nutella toast and find that there is no nutella. We never know where it goes and some speculate that Mrs. Shepherd comes down in the middle of the night and eats it. I never feel too bad when I eat a lot just because I get such a good exercise walking up to my room I can even eat an extra galaxy bar bar on laundry days. I love being able to walk down to class in about 12 seconds but it is hard when you want to skip class. It is not like BYU when one teacher has 1,000 students and you don’t make a difference, they know who I am, where I sleep at night, and weather I am missing because I am sick or because I am lazy.

Being in London I have picked up alot of the culture in my everyday life. I can know pronounce every tube line with a perfect British accent while “minding the gap.” I know to avoid the circle line and I know how to get around with out pulling out my big map like a lost tourist. Shakespeare is idolized here the way Brad Pit is idolized in the states. I have learned to love him like an infected ingrown hair. We travel a lot on coach bus and I could write a book “101 Ways to Sleep On A Bus.” When we aren’t traveling there is wooden bunkbed waiting for me. I love the hustle of the city but I miss my family and I can’t wait to be around some other people besides 20-year-old girls. This is really what my life is! I didn’t want to sugar coat anything so you can a real view of the life here. I can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks! Hope all is well in the states. Lots of love,


Shakespeare and Biology

For my biology class we are learning about evolution. I have to admit that it is not my favorite subject... We were given the assignment to either write a paper about "What Evolution is Not" or identify the use of biology in Shakespeare's writing. Needless to say I chose to write about Shakespeare. Here is the outline of my paper. It is just kind of a jumble of thoughts right now but I could see it going great places!

Shakespeare, the Underrated Biologist

Biology is life. From the flesh on bodies to the dirt on the earth, from the full moon to the crawling lady bug, from the Redwoods in California to the bobcats in Arizona, biological forces are at work. Many figures from all walks of history have recognized biology as a predominating force in day to day life. Notably Charles Darwin, Alexander Flemming, and Aristotle have studied life and organisms to discover the nature of life and the environment. Each of these great men were either a scientists or philosopher so merit is natural; but one of the one of the greatest pursuers of the study of biology is often overshadowed because of the glory of his literary accomplishments. Who is this underrated biologist one may ask? It is none other then William Shakespeare, a man considered to be the greatest literary geniuses of the 16th century and possibly of all time. His repetitive use of biological elements in his works literally give life to his literary purpose: to define the idea that Biology “is life”.

Shakespeare depicts how biology is life though his reference to nature, nature being the literal flora and fauna of the earth. As presented in the comedy “As You Like It” Shakespeare contrast the sterilness and haughtiness of the court with the edenic qualities of the Forest of Arden. The forest is described as a lush forest filled with trees and streams. There is plenty of wildlife to eat and places for livestock to be kept. The land is fertile and good for growing crops. These biological elements help sustain yet another biological element, humans. The residents of the country not only live off of the land but are morally restored by the land. In the plot Duke Senior is a man of court but is banished into the Forest of Arden. There he realizes the importance of acknowledging and giving head to nature in ones life as a way to find peace within. He describes the court in a way that the “icy fang” and “winter’s wind” are not as harsh as the court. He moves to the forest and finds what really makes him content:

“Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,

Hath not old custom made this life more sweet

Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods

More free from peril than the envious court?

Here feel we not the penalty of Adam…”

He realizes life lived in court is incomplete because they cut themselves off from the earth. The court in this story can be compared to places in present time where people cut themselves off from nature either from circumstance or choice. It is like a student ignoring the directions at the top of test and then wondering why they did so poor. People ignore this undeniable biological force and their lives and wonder why they aren’t content. This shows how biology “is life” by the way nature sustains, supplying food and shelter, and restores, accepting nature as a dominating force, human life.

In “Romeo and Juliet” Shakespere uses the allusions to the heavens and plants and herbs to also show how Biology is life. One dominant reference to biology throughout the play is the sky. One example is found in Friar Lawrence’s speech as he describes morning as “The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night, Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reels From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.” The fact the sun rises everyday and sets every night is a concept definitely taken for granted. The days are divided by this, the months are marked by this, our lives revolve around this. Reading Shakespeare’s beautiful description of this rising sun is his way of slapping everyone in the face and saying “don’t take this biological force for granted!” Friar Lawrence also refers to “...herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.” He describes the these as nutrients in a mother’s womb that “children of divers kind, We sucking on her natural bosom find, Many for many virtues excellent.” This can literally be translated as the powers of herbal medicine. Since prehistoric times the earth has been giving cures and remedies for many health problems. It was more prominent in Shakespeare’s time, as noted by “Romeo and Juliet,” but it is still practiced today as well as being the precursor to modern medicine. Both of these are elements of biology that help show the how Biology “life is”.

The idea of decay presented in Shakespeare’s 15th sonnet also conveys how biology “is life.” He states that “ every thing that grow holds in perfection but a little moment” and then it starts to decay. Shakespeare is ultimately referring to love but to understand what he is really trying to portray one has to understand decay. “Plants increase” to a peak of growth and then decay into the earth. Animals reach the height of life and then decay to death. Days peak at the height of the sun and then decay to night. Humans reach a peak in life and then it could be described as decaying into old age and then dying. Decay is biological circle and encompasses every aspect in the human perspective from emotions such love to the decay of actual lives. Social customs and holidays revolve around the cylce of decay with the celebration of birthdays and deaths and the changing of the seasons. Men try to fight this biological impact with procedures such as plastic surgery just as plants and animals try to fight it with adaption and evolution. But despite all the efforts this biological phenomena still occurs and still shows how biology defines life, or more bluntly stated, “is life.”

Shakespeare understood what a preeminent influence biology is and uses this to articulate that biology is life. Biology is the nature of the earth that provides and restores for the human body and soul. Biology is the reassurance that the sun will rise everyday and that the herbs of the earth can heal. Biology is the cycle of decay that defines the cycle of life.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wales and Herefordshire

This last week we had the chance to go to Wales and Herefordshire! We went as a group to study some more church history sites.  We started out trip of in Cardiff, Wales where we just explored the city a little bit. We went to a living history museum where we learned about old Welsh communities.  It was very intersting because what they did was fid and old Welsh town and then they brought it to the museum and rebuilt it brick by brick.  The next day we picked up our guide Peter Fagg and headed back into England to learn about the history of the church in Herefordshire.  We started at Benbow farms where many of the first baptisms where perfomred.  It was the home of John and Jane Benbow and they eventually joined the church and then sold their farm to help 50 saints get to America.  They also donated money to help print the book of Mormon.  We then went to Ledbury where we stopped for lunch. We say the church which inspired Truman Angel fro his design of the Salt Lake Temple. My favorite thing we did that day was go to Herefordshire Beacon. This is a mountain in Herefordshire where Wilford Woodruf would go to think and receive revelation.  We had a really sweet moment where we sang "High on a Mountain Top."  Our last stop was at a little chapel called the Gadfield Elm Chapel.  It is the Oldest chapel in the church and it is still used today.  The church recently got repossession of it.  Since the Missionary couple wasn't there we had to answer these questions they had posted in the window to be able to get the code.  Only members of the church would be able to solve it.  I really love learning about the church here. It is such a testimony building experience to go to the places that I am learning about! I love it here!

Could you get into the Chapel???
The Ledbury Church...
The pond at Benbow Farms where 1,200-1,800 saints were baptized...
Benbow Farm...
The top of Herefordshire Beacon...


Well today we had the chance to go to a Muslim Mosque. It was very interesting. We sarted off the day walking through Regents park towards the mosque.  It is hte central mosque for London and it is pretty big. It is big building with a gold dome on top. When we go there we were met by our guide Omar.  He is a 24-year-old and he seems very accomplished for his age.  He travels all around the UK teaching to universities and other groups all about Islam. He has been to Mecca twice and he has also written literature about Islam for people learning about it. We started out tour in the big chapel area where Omar taught us a little about the prayers they say.  We watched them do their prayers and it was really neat.  They line up in straight line and go through this procession of bows.  They do this 5 times a day.  The procession starts with a cal to prayer and then them opening the prayer by a simple gesture and they go though the bows a certain amount of times depending on the prayer then they can pray about whatever they want followed by a closing of the prayer. The person leading all of this is called an Imam and they are like priests that have to go through certain amounts of training and they have to memorize large parts if not all the Qur'an,  He said there are Imam's as young as 10 who lead entire congregations because they are qualified.  We then headed upstairs so he could teach us more about the religion.  He explained that Mosques were only considered mosques if they have some type of library.  It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant just some place there are books you can study from.  He told us about his trips to mecca and the type of things you do there.  He showed us a couple of pictures and told us about the actual building they go to to pray in. It was amazing to see so many people devoted to that faith and hear the stories of Muhammad, peace be upon him.  He also told us about the prophet Muhammad and the start of religion including the marriage between him and his wife.  I really liked that story. He talked about the 5 pillars of their religion. I really enjoyed learning about the Mosque.  Omar was a great guide and answered all of our questions.  I feel like a better person for learning more about their religion.