Monday, August 23, 2010

Old Youth

The new student union building on the campus of the University of Akron - not so new anymore, but new to me

This week has been stressful, and exciting, and made me feel old.

Today, I stepped back in time to the campus of the University of Akron for the first time in over seven years.

The campus used to be like a second home to me when I was working on my masters degree and teaching; now, it's changed, and so have I.

Today, I emerged from my home in the sticks to navigate my way around a concrete landscape of unfamiliarities and youth. Clean, fresh, tan youth full of hope and vitality. Flip-flops and supple skin everywhere. And the noises - wow. I forgot how noisy campuses are.

I went into the student union seeking a vanilla latte, but ended up finding a source of much greater energy: youth.

A line of people at Starbucks in the student center

Youth is a drug you don't realize the potency of until you're no longer young.

Youth is a Siren who draws you in with empty promises.

Youth is contagious.

Youth is a dime store cowboy who looks so good sauntering slowly across linoleum in sexy Wranglers, you cannot help but be lured in by his quick-silver elixir.

...but, I digress.

I stood in the middle of the bustle and literally recorded the sounds on the voice recorder on my phone.

So much life is captured in sound.

There were tables set up with recruiters for Greek Rush and various other groups.

The booming bass of rap music vibrated rhythmically, and snippets of conversations flooded my ears as people walked past me. So much laughter and chatter and life. I had to just stand there for a minute and soak it in - like osmosis, I hoped some of that energy and vitality would fill me up. It is good to be back on a college campus.

I wish I could hold that energy in a reserve for those times when my own is depleted.

Ah, but Buddha teaches that our attempt to hold anything is for naught.

So I let go. And I breathe.

1 comment:

  1. Shannon - I just love my one day a week on Penn State's main campus. The beauty of a sea of concrete amazes me & I love the view of the green roof (plants) on the new forestry building that I can see as I descend the elevator from the parking garage. The excitement & ambition of the students reminds me of my days back there. You're so right about the snippets of conversations that you hear: I catch lots of them from my office as lots of students come & go through my halls. They provide me with amusement, sadness, and empathy. So happy that this is a good thing for you!


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