Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The pleasures of roaming a deserted college campus

Last Monday evening, somewhere between 6:15 and 6:45, was an especially lovely time on Staten Island. The air was cool and dry, the sky was clear, and the sun shone brightly but also obliquely, you know, the way it does when it is low on the horizon and the resulting shadows are slanted and stretched out.

I had just returned from a meeting off-campus to Wagner College, where I work. There wasn't a soul in sight. Wagner enjoys a particularly picturesque setting. Lots of large, leafy trees surrounding nicely restored and rather quaint mid-century buildings with spectacular views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Even when there are a lot of people around it often feels peaceful and calming. But with no one in sight, with the whole campus to myself, I felt energized, ebullient, and yet also quietly satisfied with its simple beauty. I guess you could say I was experiencing a feeling of well being.

Most of my day had been spent lecturing recalcitrant students and arguing with colleagues whose analysis of the situation facing New York's public schools seemed naive, ill-informed, and simplistic. In other words, I was feeling impatient and feisty, almost looking for a fight. To come upon the Wagner campus at that particular moment drained me of all the hostility that had welled up inside me. I could feel my natural composure returning and that sense of what really matters restored. A good way to bring my workday to a close and still another reminder of how very, very hard it is for me to keep my eyes on the prize of what it means to live respectfully, peacefully, and wisely.

No comments:

Post a Comment