My Final Goodbye

Thank you for a great year Dr. Ayers. I’ve learned a tremendous amount of knowledge in your class and I really feel like I grew as both a reader and a writer. Thank you for being a great teacher and for always understanding and caring about each and everyone of your students. I was always excited to go into your class each day because I knew it would be interesting and fun. I loved all the activities we did like going outside and reading or watching that crazy movie about a man who lives with bears. This year I knew was going to be very hard for me but you made it really enjoyable. I really appreciated all the little things you did for us and I really thought that I learned a lot. Of course there were times throughout the year where I was very against what you assigned, especially the first the author study. I didn’t want to present at all in front of the class but after doing it I actually became less scared in general to present and it made me feel one hundred times better about myself. Its crazy to think that in a year one person can grow so much in knowledge. Your class taught me many things that weren’t strictly about writing or reading. I learned how to argue and stand up for what I believe is right. Which was especially hard in my class considering the amount of kids who thrive on arguing (Elizabeth). I learned to get more involved in the class because that only helps me as an individual learn and grow. Overall I had an outstanding year. Though it was sometimes hard and I didn’t really enjoy it, there were still many great times that I encountered. Thank you for being great and for one crazy  year. Its been real. I hope you do great things in Iowa City. Thank you for an amazing year and you will be missed greatly at Kennedy.

Living the Dream

Hello everyone! This is going to be one of my last blog posts and I just wanted to say thank you for all your follows and reads. Its been real! I haven’t blogged in a while because I have been really busy but there has been a lot that has happened since I wrote last. Just yesterday morning we shelled corn on the farm. Shelling corn is a huge process that can last up to six hours and we usually start it at seven in the morning. Shelling corn consist of taking the corn out of the crib, pulling it off of the ear, and then loading it into a semi. Its a really exciting day for me because there aren’t many farmers left who still shell corn. Many put there corn or beans in a silo and then they sell it in the fall or spring, but we actually do all the physical work to shell the corn. While all the men in my family are working on getting the corn out of the crib me and my cousins are killing the mice as they flee the crib. Now I know what you are thinking, “how awful.” But its actually for a good cause because if we don’t kill the mice then they will get into the house and into all the barns and tear everything up. It’s a really fun day and it brings the whole family together. Another new thing that has happened on the farm is that we have another little baby cow. She was born about two weeks ago and she is all black. The crazy part is that she has only been alive for two weeks and she has grown tremendously. I have always found it interesting to see how animals in the wild grow and prosper. Speaking of new babies just the other day I found a baby kitten all alone starving to death. It was the saddest thing I’ve  ever seen so I felt so bad that I brought it into the house. After hours of persuading I finally got my mom to let me bottle feed him and keep him in my room until he was healthy enough to go back outside. We named him Humphrey which is a really cute name when you actually see how he respond to it. He is the happiest kitten I know and he loves to roll around and play. Everything on the farm lately has been really good and I’m super excited to see what this summer is going to bring. I truly am blessed in so many ways that I can come home each day to a wonderful house with a wonderful family. I love everything about my farm and everything that it has taught me over the years.

What Mysteries lie Beneath the Ocean?

Amanda Keiper

May 17, 2016


Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Hunting World Dolphins

Susan Casey

Penguin Random House, 302 pp., 2015



It was a bleak, quiet morning on the Solomon Islands, on the coast of Japan. A young man by the name of Makili holds a lifeless young dolphin in his arms. The calf’s body is infected, burned, bruised and stripped of his skin. As tears rolled down his cheeks, Makili began to cry and shout. The little calf came with a message that represented something larger than one death. It was a message telling Makili to make a change, to do something so that other dolphins like it wouldn’t suffer. The calf looked up at Makili, took one last breath and died in his arms.[i] Makili’s story is one like many others, who have seen firsthand the horrific conditions that dolphins in captivity face. Though this calf escaped its watery cage in the coast, countless others around the world still suffer the same mistreatment. While some rehabilitation centers exist to help the dolphins, it is mainly understood by researchers that captivity is detrimental to their well-being. Research of dolphins should be conducted in their natural habit instead of observing them in captivity, which would be beneficial to both the animals and the researchers.

Voices in The Ocean, by Susan Casey, is an enticing story about the miraculous lives of dolphins. Dolphins are amazing creatures with many capabilities, it’s these enchanting qualities that have allowed dolphins and humans to develop a strong connection. In Voices in the Ocean, Casey discusses her travels around the world exploring and researching these creatures. This research took her to the Solomon Islands where she investigated the cruel capturing and selling of dolphins. Globally, this multibillion-dollar industry is what fuels low income cities and has created major controversy in the dolphin industry.

Since the Minoan Ages (3650-1450 B.C.E.) dolphins and humans have lived in harmony with one another. Minoans worshipped and painted these brilliant creatures reflecting on their extraordinary qualities. Casey explains, “If there were any people who painted dolphins earlier, or more often, or more brilliantly, or exalted the animals more, we haven’t yet found them.”[ii] It’s that strong bond that made the Minoan’s care so greatly for dolphins, which made them appreciate the capabilities and qualities of these animals without taking advantage of them.

In today’s culture, many people assume that the only way to see these animals in their true form is through marine parks. People will pay money to wait in long lines for a sixty-minute swim with a dolphin, without fully realizing that you are only seeing half of the dolphin’s true characteristics, while the rest has been left at sea.

When placing these creatures in marine parks, we are only thinking about the social interactions that we see. People fail to realize that dolphins are very sociable outside of marine parks, both within their species and beyond. If one takes the time to research and think, it’s easy to see that there isn’t a need to capture these amazing creatures, but instead be one with them in their own world.

In Voices in the Ocean, Casey discusses her visit to a small town on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, where she met Fungie. Fungie is “a male bottlenose dolphin that had forsaken the open sea to live inside the mouth of the Dingle harbor.”[iii] The people of the peninsula can still enjoy the dolphin without having to put him in captivity. He spends all his time in the harbor and every day he seeks out human companionship. Scientists can’t quite explain the behavior but tales of dolphins befriending humans reaches far back into history. It’s examples like these that allows us to realize that dolphins will, and want, to become closer to humans without the need for enclosing them in captivity.

While many think we are saving dolphins from the pollution and harm of the seas, we are actually only taking them from their rightful place. According to a National Geographic Ocean Views article, “Removing dolphins from their natural habitat to live in tanks will not address environmental issues. And the statement that these programs help endangered or threatened species is faulty, especially considering that the endangered species are generally not the ones being kept in captivity. Captive breeding programs do provide one thing: a constant supply of dolphins for display and human amusement.”[iv] Taking the dolphins from their home only decreases their health and the likelihood of survival. Dolphins have a better chance of living longer in the wild than in captivity. According to statistics provided by the Becky Bauer, an award-winning journalist covering the marine environment in the Caribbean, “The average lifespan of a wild bottlenose dolphin is approximately 40 years; however, statistics show the average life span of a captive bottle nose dolphin, the most popular species for captive facilities, is a mere 5 years.”[v] There comes a time where we need to stop and ask ourselves, “Is it moral to keep a dolphin in these kinds of conditions?” “Would you personally want to live in a small pool all by yourself, with no family or communication but with those who feed and watch you swim?” It’s time we take into consideration how truly bad this situation is.

Dolphins are majestic creatures with unique skills and abilities meant for the open seas. Capturing a dolphin from the wild, and forcing it into a small pool with humans can cause the dolphin to become very agitated and it can be deadly for the animal. There are numerous accounts of humans getting hurt by these amazing creatures, the animals become very angry and agitated with all the attention from unknown people. Voices in The Ocean is bursting with examples that show how relationships between humans and captive dolphins can be dangerous. One event occurred in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil with a bottlenose named Tiano who had been plagued by crowds of people dropping popsicle sticks into his blow hole and pouring beer into his mouth. Eventually Tiano had received enough bullying and he sent twenty-seven of his tormentors to the hospital. These cases show how dolphins in captivity can become very aggressive and unhappy due to their extenuating circumstances.

While it’s important that we understand and learn more about these alluring creatures, it’s more important that we put the needs of the animals first. If we allow dolphins to stay in their natural habitat, then it might be hard to collect data and research from them as they are always moving, but in the long run the data will be more precise and accurate because researchers would see firsthand how they interact with each other. This presents a different view, then if researchers tried to observe a dolphin in captivity all alone in a tank. Observing these dolphins in the wild instead of captivity allows for less “under the table” dolphin trading. In the Solomon Islands in 2010, the villagers embarked on a killing spree of dolphins. In one day they would kill up to nine hundred bottlenose, spinner, and spotted dolphins, including almost two hundred and fifty calves. They would corner the dolphins into a cove or force them onto the beach, where they would kill every one that wasn’t suitable for selling, such as young calves or older adults. In doing so, they then were left with the best dolphins that would next be taken and sold around the world for up to 200,000 dollars.[vi] William Johnson, an investigative journalist, expands on the dolphin industry in his book, The Rose-Tinted Menagerie. Johnston states, “It is merely the law of supply and demand, for as dolphins inevitably die off in their cramped pools, it is just as inevitable that they will have to be replaced.”[vii] Dolphins aren’t seen as animals but merely as investments.

Today there are thousands of marine parks around the world that have exotic sea animals such as dolphins, orcas, and killer whales. Dolphins are one of the leading marine animals in these parks who are paraded around and shown for entertainment. Sellers don’t care about the needs of the dolphins or the overall effect captivity will have on the animals, it is just all about the profit and entertainment. If we were to stop capturing and selling these animals to marine parks, we would be able to reduce the numbers of brutal beatings and killings of these truly stunning creatures. It’s time we realize that the only true reason we keep these extraordinary and socially complex creatures captive, is for our entertainment by going to dolphin shows, or visiting businesses like Sea World, we only aid the mistreatment and exploitation of these animals.

The behavioral and social aspects of these creatures are beyond words. Dolphins have great memories, self-awareness, a biological sonar system which allow them to effectively produce X-ray vision, and they are capable of problem solving. These abilities allow them to effectively process information and deal with it accordingly. With their large complex brain, dolphins have captivated all of us, especially scientists. As research on these extraordinary creatures became increasingly widespread, more and more dolphins have been taken from their natural environments and brought into research labs for testing.

Dolphins activities and abilities are mostly driven by the need for prey, and by putting these animals in a pools they aren’t fulfilling their required daily activity. No matter what the parks say, there is no possible way they could ever fulfill the needs of a wild dolphin. According to Catalan Biologists Joan Gonzalvo, (whose main research interest is the conversation of the marine environment), “Dolphins explore their environment using echo-location, an especially adapted sonar.”[viii] Their perception of the world is largely acoustic, which makes it virtually impossible for us to picture what they see. In captivity, dolphins don’t use their echo-location systems as much since there is little need to hunt or communicate with others. Their surrounding environment is predictable, a constantly clear shallow tank of water with light. Marine parks cannot even begin to stimulate the natural habitats of these creatures. Their natural activity, social skills, hunting abilities and sonar perceptions are severely compromised by the conditions of captivity.

The differences between captivity and rehabilitation centers are very distinct. I would define captivity as a place where dolphins are forced to stay in order to be paraded around for either money or entertainment. Captivity is a place where dolphins are taken from their homes in the wild in order to be transported across the world for no other purpose than that of profit. One the other hand, I would define rehabilitation as a place where stranded or sick dolphins go for love and care. Rehabilitation centers are places where dolphins get medical attention and will eventually be set free back into the wild once they have reached their maximum health. These are places where the animals feel safe and are getting the utmost care. As research on these amazing creatures steadily becomes more mainstream the questions becomes: where and how can we research these animals in their true beauty? According to a National Geographic Ocean Views article, “Over the year’s marine parks have tended to play the research card every time there is a question about why we keep dolphins in captivity.” While in the past this has been true, keeping dolphins in captivity has allowed for the basic understanding of the lives of dolphins. But the world of science has changed tremendously since then.

Though dolphins should be kept in the wild, there still are a few exceptions to this general rule. In the case of a dolphin becoming beached, or very sick and in need of medical care, then we should take them into a rehabilitation center to help heal them. This is for the betterment of the dolphin and not for shear profit. In cases where the dolphins are hurt and will need to stay in rehabilitation for weeks or even months, would be the time that researchers could conduct scientific research. Since the dolphin isn’t being forced into captivity and is rather there to feel better it is the perfect time to see how their bodies adjust and heal to medicine. In these situations, we could learn about their brains and have an up close experience with these amazing creatures, without the need of capturing and selling them.

In general, keeping dolphins in captivity doesn’t allow any true research to be conducted of these animals within their natural habitats. When they are confined into a small pool they aren’t able to socialize and act like they would if they were swimming with their pods. In fact, the only thing we learn about these animals in captivity is that they can be trained to perform tricks for the humor of humans. Training dolphins to perform tricks has little to no relevance to understanding dolphins that live in the wild. If we were to conduct research on dolphins in the wild versus in captivity, we could learn almost triple the amount of information we know now. Though the average individual may not be able to pet or swim with the dolphins, we would instead get to see them in their joyous habitat.

While watching Dolphins Spy in the Pod[ix], a documentary about cameras disguised as marine animals that infiltrate the world of wild dolphins, I realized that there are numerous way that we can learn and observe these creatures in their natural habitat. If it takes creating secret spy cameras to infiltrate the natural world of animals, then that’s something researchers should be willing to try. These animals can change our view of ourselves, and change how we see our own genetic makeup. We could learn a tremendous amount of knowledge if we understand how these animals co-exist so peacefully with their surroundings. Imagine if humankind appreciated and respected the environment. Things would never become extinct, there wouldn’t be endangered animals, and we wouldn’t have to worry about global warming. Researching these extraordinary creatures in the wild is what is best for not only them but also for us. The amount of knowledge we would gain would be mind boggling and would surely make people appreciate these creatures a lot more. Their evolutionary path itself is extraordinary, their brains highly complex, their social skills remarkable, and their love for one another is mind blowing. It’s these captivating creatures that should be left in the wild doing what they do best; singing to one another, playing and flipping in the water, and becoming one with their surroundings

[i] Casey, Susan. pg 207

[ii] Casey, Susan. pg 260

[iii] Casey, Susan. pg 78

[iv]   Bearzi, Maddalena. “Debunking Captivity: 3 Reasons Not to Keep Dolphins in a Tank.” National Geographic. National Geographic, 08 Apr. 2014. Web. 09 May 2016.

[v] Bauer, Becky. “Studies Show Captive Dolphin Programs Shorten Lives.” All at Sea. Kennan Holdings LLC DBA All at Sea, 29 Feb. 2008. Web. 16 May 2016.

[vi] Casey, Susan. pg 175

[vii]  “The International Dolphin Dealers – The Secret Trade in Captive Dolphins.” Iridescent Publishing, 2012. Web. 04 May 2016.

[viii] Gonzalvo, Joan. What about Dolphins in Captivity? Five Main Reasons Not to Keep Dolphins in a Pool. (n.d.): n. pag. ENDCAP. ENDCAP, Aug. 2015. Web. 2 May 2016.

[ix] “Doplhin Spy in the Pod.” BBC. Ed. Kim Shillinglaw. BBC, 2016. Web. 1 May 2016.

Dolphins: Spy in the Pod

Dolphins: Spy in the pod is a documentary on Netflix that examines the life and abilities of dolphin pods. This documentary uses secret cameras disguised as marine animals, to infiltrate the world of wild dolphins, chronicling the everyday lives of these enchanting creatures. During the video I learned many new things about these amazing creatures. I got to see and understand why they leap out of the water and why some species of dolphins like to rotate three hundred and sixty degrees. We got to see a view of these creatures that no human would be able to see, because they dolphins were in their natural habitat and no one was bothering them. I got to see a baby being born and see how the baby learns how to use its echo sonar to communicate with the rest of the pod and with his mother. It was very interesting to me how each member of the group looks out for each other. They all communicate so well and they always seem to know what happening all around them. We got to see never before seen footage of dolphin grouping with hundreds of other dolphins in a huge pack. It was such an amazing site to see and it truly helped me understand how these creatures communicate with each other. This documentary taught me a lot about the lives of these creatures and it really helped me grasp the concept of how truly enchanting these animals are.

New York Times: Voices in the Ocean

Published by Katherine Courage, Voices in the Ocean is a miraculous story of the beauty and life of Susan Casey. Within her review she talks about the numerous adventures and advances that Susan has made with her break through book, Voices in the Ocean. Armon starts off the review by explaining all the hard ships that Susan had recently overcome. With her marriage ending and her father dying Susan turned to dolphins for guidance and relief. It was a solo swim in the Honolua Bay, where she met a pod of dolphins that decided to swim along side of her. It was this encounter that make Susan realize how extraordinary these creatures truly were. Susan recalls the experience by,  “It was as though I’d been hit by lightning and that one strike had zapped clean through my brain, replacing its usual patterns and wavelengths and nerve impulses with a dolphin highlight reel. I couldn’t forget the way the pod had sized me up, or their peculiar squeaking, creaking language, or how ridiculously fun it was to just cruise along with them.” It was this turning point that really made Susan want to spend her whole life dedicated to increasing the study of dolphins. After this amazing experience Susan went back home a different person. She was in a depressed mood for about two years after her beloved fathers death, but after this experience in Hawaii her life changed forever. Casey embarks on a pilgrimage to study these beguiling, intelligent, frequently mythologized (and increasingly threatened) creatures  and our relationship with them. It is through her research that we today know so much about these amazing creatures and the relationships that these creatures endure with humans. Susan’s mission is to capture “the strange, enduring, occasionally tragic and often wonderful relationship between humans and dolphins”. Dolphins and humans are so closely related that its remarkable how similar we are to these extraordinary creatures. Susan expresses many times through our her book of the rare and dangerous rescues missions that dolphins have gone on for humans. For example, there was a time when a suffer was knocked off his board by a shark and was bitten twice and the dolphins heard the man screaming for help and came over and fought the shark off. They then helped the man get back to the shore to get help. Its crazy stories like these that really grabbed my attention while I was not only reading her book, but also the review of her book. Their are many people in the world today that know nothing about the sea and the creatures that live within it. Its those people that hunt these dolphins and those people that pollute the very sea they live in. Towards the end of the review Katherine talks about the dolphin trading industry and how dolphins can be sold for up to two hundred thousand alive. Once caught these dolphins can be shipped around the world to different marine parks, museums, aquariums, or anywhere they can be sent. Through out her book Susan explains the need to stop an end to hurting and killing dolphins. There is a whole chapter dedicated  to truly understanding the horrible things that the Japanese do to these amazing creatures of the sea. They torture them while they are still alive and they give them no mercy. It was a horrible chapter to read but it really opened my eyes to how awful some people can be to these animals. Katherine’s review presented many new ideas about things I could potentially write about. It helped me understand Susan’s book better and it helped me tie it all together.

Voices in the ocean

Voices in the Ocean, by Susan Casey, is a miraculous book about dolphins and their extraordinary abilities and skills. So far I have read around one hundred pages and ever since the prologue I have really enjoyed it. I really love how much passion and kindness Susan puts in her writing and how detailed it is. The way she describes her experiences makes it feel as if you are right there by her side. As I have been reading I have been very curious of how much money organizations get a year to research these amazing creatures. I also wonder if we were to increase the amount allotted for each year, if we could soon better understand the ways and skills of dolphins and then correlate that to humans. In Susan’s prologue she explains the extraordinary capabilities of dolphins. Dolphins are the only creatures that can hear by deploying biological  sonar to effectively produce X-ray vision ( they can literally see through objects). Its facts like these that make my reading much more interesting. So far Susan has really caught my attention throughout each chapter. I have learned so many new things about dolphins and their abilities that it makes me very confident in the paper I’m going to write. Even though I’m only half way through the book, I already feel liked a know so much about the lives of dolphins. Some things that I would I include in my paper would be the constant struggle for funding organizations. Through out the book in many places Susan talks about the need to better understand these amazing creatures and in order to do that we need to increase the funding. I would include many examples of the extraordinary behaviors of dolphins, and I would relate those to humans and the new advances we could make with those. For example, I might use the deploying biological  sonar that help dolphins to communicate to, submarines in the army that use similar sonar to track other countries ships. Overall the book so far has been very good. I am starting to have an idea on what to write about and I believe that once I’m done reading the whole book it will all tie together really well.

Tips to Healthy Summer Skin

Summer is coming fast and we all know what that means, TANNING! Yes, summer is the time of year where are white pale skin turns into a light golden brown. The time of year where I spend all day by the pool soaking up the sun and laying out. This time of year makes me so excited for the rest of summer to come and for so many summer adventures. While tanning in summer is a great thing to do it can also be very dangerous. Last year I fell asleep outside tanning and when I woke up I was burnt everywhere. I couldn’t even touch my own skin because the pain was unbearable. Plus after weeks of healing and lathering on lotion and gel, my skin still looked dry and flakey. So I decided to finally take everyone’s advice and wear sunscreen.  This of course helped me better in the long run and it helped my skin be able to heal faster the next time I got burnt. Since I had such a profound experience getting burnt, I decided to come up with little tips on how to better your skin quality during the summer.

Tip number one; always apply sun screen or lotion on your skin multiple times a day. Say you are going on a run and you are sweating a lot and the sunscreen you had put on is slowly fading away. If you don’t stop to apply more you run the risk of getting burnt on your last mile or two. Another example is if you’re going to go swimming. Always apply sunscreen on multiple times because you are at greater risk of getting burnt by the water. It’s very easy to get a sun burn while swimming because you are having so much fun you don’t even realize that your skin is being burnt.  There are hundreds of brands of sun screen out there that are water proof and that work very well. I highly recommend Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen. It has worked really well for me over the years and it really does stay on for a long time. I would also recommend buying the lotion and the spray because they work together really well, especially if you put the lotion on first and then you add the spray for extra protection.

Another tip to keep your skin healthy in summer is by drinking a lot of water. Staying hydrated is something you must do during the summer months. With the weather being as hot as it can get, becoming dehydrated is very easy. Make sure you drink at least sixteen ounces of water a day especially if you are outside in the heat.  I know I always keep a water bottle with me at all times to make sure I don’t get dehydrated or become sick.  This really helps your skin stay healthy and keeps it hydrated.

Lastly always wash your face after being outside or when you wake up in the morning. Keeping your face clean is a major role in keeping it as healthy as possible.  These are just some of the things you can do during the summer to keep your skin as healthy as it can be.

Spring Cleaning

With summer around the corner, its finally that time of year again to clean out all your winter gear. Its that huge transition from long sleeves to shorts and tanks tops. I know that every year around this time I start to worry about the summer ahead. I worry that my clothes wont fit me anymore or that I will hate everything I bought last year. Now I know I’m not the only person who has ever thought this. We have all had hard times when it come to the transition of winter to spring. Especially when we are trying to get rid of old clothes and make way for the new clothes. Recently I have started my transition from winter to summer and let me tell you this its really hard this year. I have so many clothes to get rid of and so many clothes that I really want. I’m definitely not the only person in this boat right now, so here are a few tips that I learned as I was cleaning my own closet.

The first major rule when cleaning out your closet is not getting attached to your old clothes. What I mean by this is, if you haven’t worn that old blue shirt in three years then I think its time for you to get rid of it. Trust me, I know how hard this can be at times. There are many shirts that I am attached to even if I don’t wear them anymore. My advise to you would be to put the clothes in a pile of what you wear the most often and what you rarely wear and choose which ones you like the most. I still have a few shirts that I got back in elementary that I keep for sentimental purposes. Its always alright to keep a couple of shirts you don’t wear that often for special occasions, but I highly recommend getting rid of anything that is just taking up space.

The second rule is to always make room for the new. Always have room just in case you go out and buy fifteen more shirts. The more space you have open in your closet the more organized you’ll be and the easier it will be to find your clothes. Every year when I clean out my closest I always leave a row blank where I can hang all my new clothes so I know that they are all together. This is a great strategy to use and it can apply to every time you clean out your closet.

The third major rule is keeping the clothes you don’t want and giving them to either charity or goodwill. This makes the whole process of cleaning your cloest worth it because you are giving back to your community. I know  that I always feel better after I’m done cleaning, when I am giving all the things that I don’t need or want to someone who is in need.In the end it willall be worth it once you have a clean closet and a whole new row of fresh new clothes.

Spring Smells

Yes, its that time a year again when you wakeup up to the birds singing, the sun shining, and the flowers blooming. Yes Spring is here. We all have our favorite seasons and personally spring is by far one of my favorite seasons. When spring arrives I know that school is almost out of secession and summer is just around the corner. Not to mention when spring arrives so does the warm weather, which we all know and love. Not only does spring bring beautiful weather but it also brings  the beautiful aromas that float threw the air. On our farm we have over five lilac trees which fill the air every year with a sweet smell of lavender. These are by far my favorite flowers that blooms in the spring because no matter how far away you are from the tree, the smell of lavender will always reach you. Another amazing smell of spring is of course the smell of fresh cut grass. Just yesterday I came home from school and the first thing I noticed was the smell of cut grass. It smelt so amazing, especially after a long cold winter. There are just so many smells during the spring that makes me want to get outside and run around. I guess living on a farm does have some advantages after all.



Cellist Hannah Holman

Last week I had the opportunity to watch and listen to Hannah Holman speak about her career as a cellist. Hannah lives half her time in New York and  in Iowa City. She started off her presentation with asking us a question which stated, ” Why does art matter?” and “What is art?” She then explained what art meant to her and after she was done she played her first piece of music. She played a piece that was written around 1717. As she was playing I began thinking to myself about what I truly believe is art. I think art is not necessarily paintings or pictures but its something that you yourself find to be beautiful. Art to me is a creative way to express my deepest feelings and emotions. Its a way I can express myself through singing, dancing, or even painting. As she was finishing her first song, I could tell that she has true love and passion in what she does. The way she expresses herself in her music is pure joy and happiness. She gets into her music and you can tell that she loves her career. The next question she asked us to think about was, “What do you feel the arts are?” She then went on to explain that as civilization’s go away they are determined and remembered by the art that once defined them. She said that art to her is what gives us dreams and hope. Its what pushes us to our boundaries and what makes us challenge ourselves. Art is a beautiful way of life and it allows us to experience all kinds of things in different ways and forms. Next Hannah played a couple more songs that were more recent and modern. One was a French dance and the other were songs from movies. Each song she played had different emotions and tones to it. One song was filled with fun and joy, while another was picked with sadness and pain. Her performances were truly amazing and beautiful. She’s an amazing artist and she can sure play the hell out of her cello. She ended her speech with a question that stated, “What does art do in your life?” As she was performing her last song I had time to truly reflect on what the true meaning of that question was. To me art makes me who I am today. Its brings joy and excitement to my life, it makes me be able to express myself in a way where I can be who I am. The arts are a beautiful way of life and they make me become a better person each and everyday. Overall Hannah’s performances were truly amazing and beautiful. She’s a true inspiration and you can definitely tell that she loves what she does in every way.