09 August 2010

A walk across campus in autumn

One of the many things I like about England is how soon autumn comes. Spring is long, autumn is long, and summer is about two weeks. Some people might find this disappointing. Not me. I love the touches of autumn already in the air, making me wax sentimental, as it reminds me of coming to the OU for the first time. Soon, I will have less time ahead of me than time behind me, I will be moving on to somewhere else. Now is the time to appreciate it.

The first walk across campus in autumn was always a big deal for me as an undergraduate. The summers were miserable because they meant working dead end jobs, trying to recapture some of the magic of high school without any success, and feeling like I was stuck. When I returned to Knox in the autumn, and I was putting everything together for the semester, there was a renewed sense of hope and purpose. The air felt right. Walking to the cafeteria for the first time. Seeing all of your friends. New used books. Everything was filled with potential.

Of course, things have changed — it feels different as I haven't been away from campus much this summer and what I have here is something slowly building day-by-day, without three months off. Still, today as I was coming from the library, the sun was shining and it was not hot at all, and I remembered my first couple of times on campus here. I remember how I felt like I had arrived, finally, after years of wanting to do something that challenged me. I remember the smells especially: the smell of the library, the smell of the leaves. I remember walking home to our little apartment and feeling that, although we were teetering on the edge, we were probably not going to fall and things were going to work out. I remember ideas as far as the eye could see.

Anyway, I'm glad that I have begun to create a life for myself in which I will have this campus walking experience, year after year, for the next forty odd years. I'm sure it will only get sweeter.