Scene on Campus: The First in a Series

Every day this week, the editorial staff of Middlebury Magazine will fan across campus to record the goings-on as August gives way to September and a briefly quiet campus welcomes the arrival of students.

It’s 7:30 a.m. on the Middlebury campus. The only thing moving so far this morning seems to be a lawnmower in the distance. Yet as I stroll about campus, there is a feeling of expectancy everywhere. Although the air is cool, the sun is already warming the sidewalks. Long, early shadows stretch across swaths of grass, across the vacant tennis courts, arcing over the patio in front of McCullough, which workers are cleaning with bristle brooms. Even as I watch, the shadows begin to recede and many sights come into view.

A mass of deflated balloons has been left on the curb near Franklin Environmental Center to be picked up, along with trash bags. A brown cotton jersey dangles from the sign in front of Carr Hall, where it waits for its owner.

Outside Old Chapel, a man carrying a manila folder walks back and forth in front of the doorway, again and again, as if he’s got something serious on his mind. Finally, with a determined gesture, he enters.

A car pulls into a shaded parking space, and two weary parents uncurl from the seats. They have the beleaguered look that comes from driving a long distance with a time constraint. Snagging a passerby, they ask if they can park on the sidewalk to unload. The passerby doesn’t know, but says it’ll probably be OK.

Over at Proctor Dining, bacon, eggs, and pancakes warm in trays, but there are no diners yet. And in the bookstore, rows upon rows of textbooks line shelves, labeled and organized by subject and class.

The library is open but deserted; only the air conditioning makes a sound. Upstairs, the blue comfy chairs sit in a perfect line, looking towards Proctor Hall, where workers are setting up ladders.

Outside in a meditative place, the water sculpture in the Garden of the Seasons trickles serene streams around azure morning glory. And in town, bright blue balloons beckon students into the bank. We are all waiting.

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  1. This is such an epic delineation of a perspective many, if not most, students never ponder. I like the visual imagery you used, as it is simple enough to ask for imagination, but descriptive enough to comfortably place the picture in one’s mind. I also like the ending, it feels as though the arrow is drawn to a fully taught position and the bow is about to be released, yet the release of tension never comes. I don’t attend Midd, my girlfriend does, but I’ll bet a lot of the current students haven’t even been on here to read and appreciate this fine prose in which you turned a simple event into an epic, yet uneventful expose.

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We hope to create a lively discussion on MiddMag.com and invite you to add your voice. Please keep comments civil and relevant to the news item at hand. MiddMag.com may remove comments that do not follow these guidelines.

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