Not too long ago I found something that would change the way that I thought about this campus. It was the first Sunday of college. The air was cooling as the sun slowly crept behind the horizon to visit her friends on the other side of the globe. I was slowly walking through campus letting my curiosity lead me to whatever adventure lay ahead. If only I had known what I was about to find, I might have walked a little faster.
As I slowly make my way down the slippery, grassy slope behind Rowan-Johnson my eyes catch it. At first I only see the bench, but thenmy eyes are drawn to the full picture. I ask myself, "Am I in a painting, is this real?"
I shimmy down the hill and then it happens, I am engrossed in a world of fantasies and dreams. All my troubles are gone. To my right I can hear the roaring hum of the AC unit of the building above me atop the incline, but soon that hum will be forgotten as I consume the fairyworld around me. At first I only hear one or two chirps, but then, asmy heart opens up to the wonders of nature, I hear another and thenanother. Now I hear the symphony of the crickets all around me. As the crickets play the songbirds join in. The joyous music completes me. Nature's song is better than any piece by Mozart or Bach. I am in heaven; the music soothes my soul and calms my spirit. Even in this sticky, sweltering heat I feel like writing a poem.
I sit down on the old rickety bench that wobbles to and fro. As I situpon it I see the bridge directly in front of me. The bridge is faded now; only a glimpse can be seen of its former glory days. I can picture the bridge sometime in the 40's or 50's with a soldier and his girl ontop looking into the flowing spring and saying their last goodbyes. The bridge is a faded white with flecks of paint just barely hanging on, as if any sudden wind would strip the bridge of its white coat. I walk to the bridge and stand in the middle, looking over the edge into the basin below.
As I look down I see three large brick basins, each one larger than the last. The first basin I see is the middle-sized basin, almost two meters in diameter. I peer over the bridge and into the basin to reveal its wonders. At first the basin is dead. "No life is here," I say tomyself. Then it happens. Just as a flower blossoming in the spring, the basin comes to life. Small, metallic colored fish sporadically swim back and forth in the basin with no place to go. Little crawfish scurry across the basin bottom. The crawfish are completely covered in mud except for their claws, which are a bright red. The basin bottom is brownish gray, and dull. Sticks and branches from years of high wind sand storms cover the basin floor. However, even this dull, boring basin is beautiful in this land of wonder.
As I look into the basin I see two of the largest crawfish fight. They lock claws and, as all the smaller ones look on, they wrestle. They throw each other back and forth and spin around the basin bottom like a ballet of crawfish dancing to the symphony of music still heard in the background. As they dance around the basin the other crawfish dodge here and there to get out of the duelers' way.
The smallest and largest basins are uneventful and yet remarkable. A smallstream flows silently from the smallest basin into the largest basin, a masterful stroke across the brown landscape. These two basins are not as fluid as the middle-sized basin is. The largest basin has the consistency of pudding, making me think of a giant bowl full of the cool, creamy dessert.
From the largest basin the cool water flows into the pond on the other side of the bridge. The pond is calm and no movement can be seen from the surface. As I cross to the other side of the bridge and around the pond bank I can see the reflection of the blue sky and the pine tree canopy just over my head. I reflect on the greater powers above me and the beauty of the heavens above. A brown robin flies overhead from one branch to the other. I can see his perfect mirror image in the black, shiny mirror of the pond. Just as the basins represent life, music, anddance, the pond represents reflection and tranquility. I sit on the stone bench at the end of the pond. A cloud covers the sun and the mirror is temporarily gone. Now her secrets are revealed. Hundreds of little fish gracefully glide through the water like a miniature megalopolis during rush hour.
A car passes. I am thrown from my fantasy world and back into the world of reality. I look at my watch strapped around my wrist. "Can it be?" Iask myself. "Is it already 6:15?" I've been here for over an hour. I get up leaving the world of wonders behind me, walk to the bench, get my stuff, and quietly, slowly leave the world as I entered it. Up the slope I go back into the realm of reality.
Just behind Rowand-Johnson Hall, a place where many have classes daily, is a secret place unknown to most, a place of paintings, music, and dance, a quiet little oasis from the bustling city and the loud masses crowding the streets, a place where one can go and forget his problems.
It's strange how something so simple and yet so beautiful can await, unnoticed for so long. Everyday hundreds of people are within yards of this wonderful land away from the pains of the world, and yet this land of wonder continues to go undiscovered but by the few. The few who know her wonders and cherish their time within her realm. The realm of nature is a majestic place.