Writing and editing by TCA sophomores Riley Ogier, Julia Guizar, Benoît Lavigueur, and TCA senior Jonathan O’Connors
Photos by Riley Ogier, Sean Meehan, Robin Hill, Adam Wallace, and Nic Manship
We were going stir crazy and wearing each others’ nerves thin after we got trapped in our house for the entire weekend due to snow. The weather cleared on Monday, but with snow still being on the ground and extremely cold temps, we decided to go on a run on the access road to the crag. With 40 minutes to run, we all headed out at our various paces. After the time was up, we all returned to the vans. Some of us had slight injuries (cattle guards and ankles not being amicable) and others were in various conditions of panting. We did a stretching session and slight workout in the balmy 34 degrees underneath humming power lines, and then returned home, most of us already in a much better headspace.
In our rare moments of free time we headed into the town of Bishop for a heavy hit on the local bakery and coffee shops – churros, hot drinks, and donuts being among the favorites. In town, when not making up for our lack of sugar intake, we would head into the gear stores to pick up fabulous finds such as purple and tiger striped tights, a fresh pair of shoes, hats decorated by a local artist, and some snazzy new pants.
We also went on an educational field trip to Manzanar. Manzanar was one of the biggest Japanese internment camps in the 1940s.
Fellow TCA student Julia Guizar, from Mexico, gives an up close view of how these camps affected everyone so deeply:
I might be an outsider when it comes to American history, but I have listened to many stories about humanity. As I learned about Manzanar, I found myself face to face with the illness of the mind that I believe is the source of all human cruelty. When I observe the nature behind all cruel acts, I encounter the root of human suffering, the dissolution of the soul.
Humans used to be considered people, each with an individual essence that should never be corrupted. They were then seen as mechanisms, a mind based on a system with no deeper meaning behind it, turning into numbers, and statistics. Depriving a person from respect and admiration for their pure individuality, that goes beyond the body and mind, is the sheerest form of cruelty.
As I strain to visualize myself in such a position, the following is what I find to be the most painful about being a prisoner. They weren’t only robbed from their life time but their sensitivity was not considered. Therefore, their essence was ripped away from them. The concept of a “person” gets forgotten, ignored and devalued. People are left empty handed without their sacredness, hardly keeping their inside fire burning.
Nevertheless, all these people wouldn’t let go of their attribute of the soul. They each had a story that was torn away from them, a life someone unconscious decided was not worth living.
For the people whose crucial right to be a person was stolen from them by the ignorance of others, for those people who held on until their last breath to their sensitivity and uniqueness, for them, and for us, so that the soul can persist, we ought to never forget.