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in Emergence Magazine

Taking us on a walk through the folds and furrows of her Oakland neighborhood, Jenny Odell steps into the age-old conversation between rocks and water, attuning to a larger narrative of deep, geological time.

IF YOU WERE TO ASK ME where I live, my answer would depend on where we are. If we are not in my city of residence, I might say Oakland. If we are in Oakland, I might say Grand Lake. And if we’re in Grand Lake, I might say “near the rose garden.” But none of those really express where I feel myself to live, which is in a giant wrinkle—just one of many in a generally wrinkly area. Every day I walk into and out of them, considering each lump of trees and houses from the vantage point of another. I have done this since I moved here eight years ago. For most of those eight years, my restless mind and body appreciated this folded terrain without really knowing how to explain it.
I continued these daily ups and downs during the pandemic, and it was around this time that I came across the long-running blog of geologist Andrew Alden, Oakland Geology. Some of the posts were structured in a format that felt familiar to me: an amble through a particular neighborhood, often mixing geological history with architectural and cultural history. There was even one that covered part of my wrinkly surrounds: “Lakeshore ridges walk (#26).” While my knowledge of rocks and everything rock-related was decidedly amateur, there was something in these posts that reminded me of myself: just a person walking around, observing, and trying to understand a landscape. FOR MORE
Photo Credit:  JMC 2009

art and education, CULTURE, ecology, education, ENVIRONMENT, women in science, women writers, womens history


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