Stepping Outside

Today I went out for the first time in 2-3 weeks to collect invasive plant species. I took my dog with me, which meant I wouldn't be able to walk for too long because he's fat, old, and lazy. The good thing was that when I went through the list of California's invasive plant species the night before, I recognized a lot of the plants. If I knew they were invasive plants, I would've uprooted them while I was young so I could get away with it... Anyways, I just decided to walk through my neighborhood and see what I would come across. I live in a pretty busy area so although the sun was hitting me for the first time in weeks, I still felt pretty grossed out by the air.

I started taking pictures of the plants around me with the iNaturalist app. I should've read the instructions beforehand. I thought the results would come up as the camera was focusing on the plant. But it didn't so I just moved on if I wasn't interested in the plants. After walking around 3 blocks, I suddenly felt so tired. I was really debating if I should just rip out some grass. I mean, technically because of all the gardening people do, isn't grass an invasive species as well? That was my logic. But I didn't pick the grass because I was didn't bring anything to hold the grass in.

After around 5 blocks, I saw a plant I was always curious about. I always assumed it was lavender. I never took the time to ask or check since I was little so this plant was thought of as lavender since I was 7 (now I'm 22... lol). Anyways I took the time to see what the suggested species was and I was amused to see that it was the Mexican Bush Sage. I finally found the answer to my question. Usually I would always rip some of the leaves and smell them during my walk, but I realized it would be pointless since I had a mask on. The only plants I specifically remembered from the list were the English ivies and morning glories. I remember seeing them around a lot since I was young, but I forgot where. Thankfully I found a huge patch of the English ivies so I took a mental note of its location. I thought I remembered seeing dandelions on the list so I took a picture of them as well. I remember my parents saying people ate dandelion leaves during/ after the Korean War because food was so scarce. Not only dandelion leaves but also just grass in general. It's kinda funny (not at all though) how dandelions are regarded as weeds and prevented with pesticides but back then it was food to prevent death by malnourishment. I'm sure the exact type/ species of dandelion is different, but I still felt sad.

While walking back home, I saw some lantanas and decided to pick them the next day so I could use them for our next project. I'm not sure if it's going to add up to a liter but when I think about boiling leaves and my mom finding out about it, I get scared. I'm hoping the flowers are going to give me a yellowish hue. I'm not expecting much though. If the color turns out to be a light brown, I'm gonna throw in some sweet potato peels to darken the saturation hahahaha.

I'm not sure how to feel about today/ this class. I keep relating my walk and findings to The Phantom Tollbooth. There was a chapter about people who lived in a beautiful city but kept looking at their feet to go to work and back so the city became ugly. I remember reading that and promising to myself that I would never do that since I might miss out on something fun around me. But look at me now. I was forced to go outside because of an assignment. On one hand, I celebrated the technology and advancements in the present but forgot the beauty of my surroundings from the past. When I walked from Broad Art Center to my dorm, I remember the sky looked so foggy. I thought there was a fire nearby or it was the morning fog, but it was actually pollution. How long has it been since I clearly saw the mountains far away? As a person who wants to live in the mountains with dense trees, why is it taking a grade to drag me outside my room? I don't want to sound poetic or anything. I think I'm just anxious about how I actively participated in ruining our planet, animals, plants, etc.

My dog really enjoyed his walk today. iNaturalist classified him as a "Domestic Dog".

 (chapter 10)

plants I recognized!: