Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Musings in the Night

Jake Fishbein
April 17, 2013

The world around me was silent: no sound of crunching feet or bikes rolling along the gravel path that stood fifty feed behind me, no conversations floating through the air. I paused on my walk home, thoughts of a girl briefly dissipating as my feet found their home on the green grass of the earth. I stopped, trying to grasp the feelings that surrounded me, trying to take a mental photograph of the world that has come to define a deep part of my soul.

A crisp breeze blew against my face. It did not bring shivers to my body but a refreshing sensation as the wind entered my lungs. It smelled of spring: light, cool, and fresh. In the background, the utter silence of Kenyon was penetrated by the soft hum of a generator in Ransom Hall. I wanted it to stop, to end so that the world would pause and be forever engulfed in silence.

Only then did I realize that my eyes were closed, blocking out the sights of midnight and magnifying the wind rushing against me. I let nature surround me. I let it fill my lungs, my ears, and my soul. I let it bring memories to my mind. The Ghosts of Kenyon’s past, of my past, danced by me in the moonlight. They brushed up against the barriers around my consciousness, reminding me of all that had happened, of all the happiness, of all the heartbreak.

I opened my eyes and reentered the present. The soft glow of artificial and cosmic light lit up my previously blackened world. Yellow hued lamps emerged from the black like stationary phantoms in the night as I stared at the buildings shrouded in darkness behind them.  Ascension stood old, ominous, and all-knowing. Its bricks weathered by years of nights like these and feelings of nostalgia. Titanic in nature, it stood ahead of me like an ancient ruin – waiting to be explored, to be understood, to be known. To my left, Peirce’s tower flung forth towards the heavens, standing a humble reminder of mankind’s desire for knowledge and command over an unconquerable earth. It stood darkened in the night, absent life as its steps stood un-climbable and its secrets firmly obscured.

I turned my body and looked west towards Rosse’s Doric columns and the fluorescent lighted Library from which I had just emerged. They stood as icons along the jugular Middle Path and called to me across the abyss of darkness and intermittent yellow light. Was I really walking away from them, away from academia? A part of me wanted to remain tethered to that spot. It wanted to meditate in the softness of nature and the memories of four years on The Hill. As the wind swirled ‘round me and the silence of Sunday night slipped past my ears I was tempted to sit down, to become one with the darkness and lose myself in the singular moment that surrounded me.

Yet I willed that part of me to leave, to step from my momentary reflection and continue on a path towards home, on a path towards dawn and the following day. I had moved from the academic wasteland of the Library at midnight, and the company of a friend who has shaped my life more than I realized, to the natural world where thought meets emotion. I had stood at an intermittent spot, somewhere between one home and another, reflecting on the encompassing power of nature and the timelessness of memories. Now, having wandered from my temporary meditation, I sit on a leather couch, physically alone besides my thoughts, my memories, and the pen and paper in my hands.

 - First written shortly after midnight on Monday, April 8th 2013.