Noticing Holes with Slowness

Nicole Land thinking with Angela Chow, Angélique Sanders, and Kassandra Rodriguez Almonte

We’ve been thinking together about how we might build together intentions for walking with the children. We are careful to want to think with intentions in ways that break intentions from “rules”, but to begin to build the idea that we can walk with intentions, we can walk care-fully. What happens if we emphasize that on our walks, right now we want to think with going slowly and seeing what we notice, and noticing what places are calling our bodies to stop and spend time with them? This is something we’d have to return to often in our questions and in the ways we move, I think, as we practice having intentions for walking together. I am curious about setting an intention for the walk and repeatedly using that intention (slowness, noticing, seeing, perspective – whatever we are thinking with) as almost an “anchor” for our walk together. 

Speaking of noticing, I think there is something about noticing holes that is quite interesting in the quad. Holes that are murky and uncertain in that we can’t see the bottom, like the storm grate, or holes where we have met some of the critters living in them, like the green-cover hole. And today some of the children were investigating holes in the trees, wondering if they could push into the holes to get inside the tree. M was interested too in the “hole” that he could see through the glass building down into the rec centre – a big circular hole of concrete pathways. 

Thinking with holes makes me think about our practices of noticing and paying attention – what holes do we notice in the quad? Why? What draws us to those holes? What questions do we ask when we get to know those holes? How does talking about and investigating holes help us to live with the holes; to think with the more-than-human others, flows, and tensions that come to life in those holes? For example, I’m thinking about the storm grate and drain and how it is quite interesting. We can’t see the bottom, it has leaves, and it has these little buds or balls that Angela was noticing with the children. Storm drains, especially in the city, also carry incredibly polluted water. They flood, they’re a disposal site for needles and trash, rats live within them. Storm drains/grates are non-innocent. They’re implicated in messy worlds. This makes me think about how we want to notice the storm drain with children – how do we slow down and notice the drain in ways that attend to all of its complexities? In ways where moving with the storm drain is a way of deepening our connections to this place? Why does it matter that we notice this hole when we slow down, and not other holes? 

As we continue to walk together, holes are starting to be something that we are re-encountering as we try to move slow: the storm drain, the hole with the green lid, the holes in the cement throughout campus, the crevices in the rocks. There’ also the holes in the trees and the hole in the broken part of the tree. These ‘holes’ are, largely, not apolitical – they have a history, they serve a purpose, they collect certain lively things. Thinking about how we move with them (filling them with leaves or sticks, tripping in them, splashing them, poking them) is part, perhaps, of how we can notice and become differently implicated in the quad. It makes me think that getting to know the holes of the place is perhaps one way of more deeply immersing ourselves in the complexities of the quad.

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