This Monday, I woke up at 8am, and embarked on my typical morning routine. My roommate and I blasted Tay Tay and attempted to find something bright and shiny to wear in the undiscovered corners of our shared closet. Unfortunately, this activity was loudly protested by a very hungover post-grad, a vestige of homecoming weekend, who was sleeping on my couch. So I left Marsh earlier than usual and began my 7-minute hike to campus. I passed the dumpster right outside, which appeared to be shaking and grumbling. Ahhh, the autumn squirrels, lovely… nature… Marshian-goodness. I picked my way down the mud path through the trees, crossed the road, and went to Val.
Typical morning? Yes? NO! If I had stayed a bit longer in my room, I would have encountered a hoard of police people and county… officials (?) warning students not to walk down the trail and to walk the long way onto campus – the paved road because… OF A BEAR! A FUCKING BEAR! And the scariest combination of bear that there could be – a momma and cub – WHAT?!?!?
Okay, maybe this is normal for all ya’ll suburban kids, but I’m from Brooklyn and sometimes we have homeless people picking through our trash, but that’s a very different (human) issue in terms of danger, interpersonal relationships, and invasion of personal space. This was a huge animal, a FAMILY of animals (family, granted, using a liberal definition…) In Brooklyn we don’t really have to deal with like… large, angry animals on our trails to school. We also don’t have trails to school. Further contemplation of this incident brings me to two points.
My happy trail – I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to have a full 5 minutes (if you count the walk there and back) every day in the woods. Again, I’m from Brooklyn, so it’s okay that I can see cars, the dorms, and the paved path through the trees. Having some area in my life that doesn’t blast Amherst at me is so nice. That trail has become a safe haven for me, protected space where I can breathe. I refuse to answer my phone on the trail or play my ipod. It’s sort of become the prayer space I was looking for at the very beginning of the year. I don’t even think that much there, I just walk.
Also, stepping over the chain that our neighbors put up between the trail and Route 9 (I think that’s the road) makes me feel like I’m walking through a magical portal into the real world. It acts as a very tangible separator that allows me to keep certain stresses and feelings in different spheres of my life. Partly because Amherst is so small, and partly for other reasons (people live on campus for all four years, etc), we are all up in everyone else’s business all the time. This makes me, at least, claustrophobic. I need air and social space.
Conclusion: My happy trail gives me the magical portals that I require to be productive. Hehe…
Marsh Lovin’ – I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, maybe you haven’t if you don’t travel much outside of the socials and TAPs, which honestly would be a shame, and watch out because you’re wasting your time, but the Hill always has stuff going on. I notice this all the time, and I live here. We sort of have a Napoleon complex – meaning, we get worried that since we are smaller (read: farther away from campus), unless we’re doing cool stuff all the time, the rest of campus won’t notice us, or party up here. This leads to the very productive consequence of having a constant flow of both night life, and other events etc happening on the Hill, particularly in Marsh House.
I’m not just talking about Coffee Haus here. Granted, Coffee Haus is awesome, and so are all the other events (stay tuned/contact me if you’re interested in Jazz-Poetry improv!) but they’re only once a month-ish. Living in an art house (with artists) means that everyone is always working on something. If the band isn’t practicing, than someone is singing, or on piano in the ballroom, or cooking in the kitchen downstairs. I went to the basement to do laundry the other day and there was a kid break dancing. Just by himself, with the mirror. It was really legit. This week, in preparation for Marsh Halloween, the whole dorm is coming together to decorate. I haven’t had time to join yet, but there’s always someone in the library putting up spider webs, spray painting, carving pumpkins. I just love living somewhere where everyone seems to actually care about participating in a community, and actually has something to add.
The bear, although it is an actual living ANIMAL, and it’s a complete coincidence that it was wandering around Marsh and not some other dorm, seems to fit in with who we are, and what I see every day living here.
chill out hill-lovas <3 ConstantLy