Friday, November 13, 2009

Visions of New Haven

It's almost exactly midnight, as I ascend the stairs from the chaplain's office, emerging from the stony corridors of the Bingham basement into the chill nip of a late night in late autumn.

Freshmen, bundled in their brought-from-home best estimation of cold-weather garb, march past me in twos and threes down the flagstones from Durfee to Vanderbilt Hall; I turn in the opposite direction, tracing a beeline toward the High Street gate.

My steps - steady, circumscribed - trudge through the crunchy grass. My sneakers sink into mounds of leaves, impeding my footswings; rebelling against their feather-light bondage, I kick up, watching my reverse footprints swirling through the air, past my knees. My steps shorten, grow taller, until I am goose-stepping awkwardly, kicking up phantom soccer balls, watching the remnants of foliage envelop me, a torrent of sensation: crunching, yielding, bits floating into my hair and eyes and between my teeth.

I push through the final mound of leaves on the dark green quad, and I'm laughing to myself, a child blissfully alone in my own head. To my left, a Yale security officer watches me, grinning; I throw up a hand towards him, inviting him in.

He: "I've been wanting to do that all night."

I: "I love the autumn here."

As I pound the red button beside the High Street gate - a button that was not here when I arrived in this city - and the magnetic gate clicks unlocked, I chance on the uncomfortable realization that this is my last autumn in this city. As I pass through the quietly chilled night, I consider briefly the fleeting thought that I could call my friends, other church members, invite them to Old Campus, to laugh with me and throw the brown and red snowflakes of autumn at one another in large, embracing armfuls.

It's about five minutes after midnight, though, on a late night in late autumn; I tell myself, it would be unkind to bestir those whose time is better or necessarily spent elsewhere. Not to mention, I've been away from home for exactly twenty four hours, and I'm looking forward to sitting on my futon, drinking some orange soda, and watching downloaded TV shows. I trudge home through the flat streets.

That said, I am very glad that I can be a child, truly a child as even perhaps I never was in my younger years, kicking up my heels, stomping through the leaves.


Lanzhou said...

You did not experience that as a child? That's too bad.

Perhaps you did and just now are re-remembering it through the glee, the crunch, the rush, the chill, the colors.

Perhaps, it is never too late to experience it as a child would but through the eyes of someone who now cares about that experience.

Now you can share that experience with others you love and in the future with others you care.

God's seasons are amazing and this is but just one moment.

Grand Master - 108 Tongues, Bustout! Family said...

well said; thank you.