Staring up into the bright sun, the breeze hits me on this Saturday morning, accustomed to this weather that is typical to early summer mornings at home. The flowers blooming, between the art studio and Student Life Center as I read and work on assignments, enjoying the weather and atmosphere that is so reminiscent of my summer mornings reading on my deck at home. The warmth of the sun tied with the gorgeous scenery reminds me of how close I can feel within a place I have encountered for only almost two full years.
However, stepping away from the personal memory associated with this location, the metal tables and chairs intertwined between the array of these trees emphasize how unnatural such beauteous nature can be and how harsh reality lies within our world. Though our campus has been an official national arboretum since 1988, the layout of trees blooming in this pathway seems very forced. The Bicentennial Oak, certified to have lived during the American Revolution, is the oldest living element of campus. This tree, which lies within main campus, contrasted with the beautiful blooming of my Saturday morning makes such a stark comparison between the what has become and the what is becoming. In one instance the what has become embodies the reality of facts while the what is becoming expresses the ambiguity of the future.
With this in mind, nature, specifically within the natural realm of Vanderbilt, is an element that is constantly expanding. Somewhere within this natural realm lies the interconnected nature of past and future. With Pamuk’s constant relation of the past disintegrating into the future within Istanbul, our campus is developing in architecture while further developing on a basic level in nature. Pamuk has an eloquence of tying photography and memory into history. I’ve attempted this style through the relation between my personal memories with snapshots of this Saturday morning and the fact behind the reality of what surrounds me, what has come before me, and what is approaching in the future. Memories have the ability to imprint emotions, moments, and sensations into us. For me, this area of campus is beyond a courtyard or walkway. Rather, now this location continues to have me questioning nature and the nature of reality.