Just take me back
I breathe in deep and the cold, 65-degree air begins to fill my lungs. On a good day, my nose and cheeks turn a rosy red. On a bad day, they would have either remained peachy or started to look like beets.
Then I exhale and the can hear the wind rushing out of my mouth.
There’s a constant rustle in the background. It is not an inconvenience at all, but rather a welcome sight.
This. This is what I live for.
I am not there, but for a brief moment, I am.
I absolutely loved this time of the year back in Champaign-Urbana.
The 8 or 9am classes were never too much of a deal for me. I figured that if I got my studies out of the way early in the day, I would have a schedule more favorable to scheduling interviews, working out or just relaxing.
So from Monday through Thursday – assuming Firehaus or KAM’S or Legend’s did not take too much of a toll on me the previous night – I got up, got ready, and put on my black fleece and started walking.
The commute to Huff Hall was approximately 25 minutes from where I lived. Looking back now, that’s probably close to 1.5 miles. I’m at peace making the trek from the north side of campus to the south.
After the 90 or so minutes, the only way to describe my feelings shortly after class would be “absolute nirvana.”
I continued walking eastward at that point towards the Illini Union. When the classic architecture of Gregory Hall and Foellinger Auditorium came into sight, you really started to understand what made the campus so special.
And then you turn the corner on the quad and it gets even better.
The grass is pristine, providing a great seat to those who need to do some reading. The buildings are rustic as you think about the great minds who had walked along the same paths and saw the same sights. And then everywhere you seemed to look, despite it being a campus of more than 35,000 students you saw a friend. THIS is what a college campus was supposed to look like.
The bright reds and oranges fill the dozens of trees. When I take a brief look at the ground, I hear a crunch as I walk closer to my destination. A look up and I’m surrounded by the leaves falling. Days like this are a gift.
When I finally arrive to the Union, on the north side of the quad after traveling its length, I buy my Diet Coke and a package of Peanut Butter M&M’s.
Then I sit on its back porch in the blue wireframe chairs and just stare out. I’m happy.
I start to get lost in the beauty. If I could paint, there would not be enough shades of red and orange to capture what I can see. Likewise, a picture may allow for an easy way to see what I see, but even that can only capture a small frame in what is a masterpiece that may only be experienced.
The beauty is all around me. It rests in the colors. It rests in the sounds. It rests in the cool air. It rests in my ability to just take time and enjoy this simple but unforgettable moment.
Alma, I miss you dearly – I hope to see you again sometime soon.
Those of the past send greetings.
I want to apologize. I haven’t been writing on here much. I really do plan on changing that. These past few months have been rough – all of 2014 has been, really. But I’m working hard and hope to do some special stuff over the next couple months. When I get some time to share thoughts on my mind, you’ll see it here. Until then.