Actions and Reactions

When following a recipe, one single step or change can create a different outcome. Similarly to one’s actions, it’s power is limitless, and every gesture creates an unknown ripple of effects. The podcast, “Mojave Phone Booth” regards Godfrey Daniel’s experience with an unknown phone booth in the Mojave Desert, the poem “A Work of Artifice” by Marge Piercy speaks about a bonsai tree, and lastly the article “Children in The Woods” is written by Barry Lopez and is about a child finding their way into the world. All three of these texts convey the same message; actions always have outcomes.

“A Work of Artifice”, a  poem by Marge Piercy, explains the relationship between a gardener and a bonsai tree. The bonsai tree was prodded and bound, being constricted and manipulated by its owner. As the gardener pruned the bonsai tree, which was known to be a mighty tree representing peace and harmony, this strong tree became “small and cozy, domestic and weak” (Piercy). The bonsai symbolizes an action or activity, with the roots and branches being the many outcomes resulting from that single action. The aftermath of the gardener’s mutilation was a dull tree, contrasting what many gardeners would usually like to see from their trees. The gardener’s relationship with their bonsai is a representation of free will vs. fate. The gardener prunes the trees with good intentions, although unintentionally hinders its growth. 

“A man discovered a phone booth in the middle of the desert that became his new obsession” – Joe Rosenberg

Godfrey Daniel’s experience was then journaled in magazines and articles, and soon his news was spread world-wide. As a result, people from all around the world came to visit this phone booth, but unfortunately “the booth was removed in 2000” (Rosenberg). Godfrey’s single experience led to the phone booth’s popularity, then its removal. Many unknown questions still linger today. Was it removed due to it’s fame? How did this affect the local people who depended on the phone booth? Godfrey did not intend for the phone booth to be demolished after popularizing it. External forces lead to an unexpected and unintentional outcome. 

Moving on, the article, “Children in The Woods” speaks on growth and learning, which is all rooted in one activity, and it grows into another:

“The quickest door to open in the woods for a child is the one that leads to the smallest room, by knowing the name each thing

is called. The door that leads to the cathedral is marked by a hesitancy to speak at all” (Lopez). 

In order to learn new things, you must experience and create observations. Analyzing the world around us helps make connections and form relationships between multiple objects. Noticing a minor detail can lead to curiosity, then solving the problem creating a whole new discovery.

The Mojave Phone Booth, A Work of Artifice, and Children in the woods exhibit the characteristics of outcomes based on actions. Free will versus fate, external forces, and observations all play a major role in the aftermath of your gestures.

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