As much as it would be nice to end with something large and profound I think its more appropriate to finish the semester by paying homage to the little things in life.
summer rain was always such a treat. it cooled the air, and filled the air with that certain, indescribable smell, that Im sure everybody has smelled before. It also gave us kids an excuse to go outside. The rain cooled us off, and the whole idea of running around in the rain simply fascinated us. When it rained, all the kids in the neighborhood would get together, and play some kind of sport, like football or soccer. As a result of this boisterous play and the precipitation, we would always get very, very dirty. The ground had been made soft from the rain, and us running around just tore up whoever’s backyard we were playing in. However, a little bit of mud didn’t stop us, and we would return home hours later, absolutely covered in mud. This always got me an earful from my parents, but I didn’t mind; I had too much fun in the rain and mud to have my bubble burst. Even today, when the rain starts falling, I get this itch to just go out, run around, and get positively filthy.
The idea of climbing a tree was something that always fascinated my friends and I when we were growing up. The trees were incredibly tall, and we could only image what the view from the top of one would be like. We were always amazed at how easily the squirrels made it up and down the trees; whenever we tried to climb them, we would just cut out hands. The squirrels seemed so at ease in the tree. They would scurry up, down and all around them; they would leap from branch to branch without even the slightest hesitation. It was truly a marvelous sight for our young eyes.
Eventually, we came across a tree in somebody’s backyard that had low limbs. We studied the tree and realized that the lowest branches were just low enough to grab if we jumped. Thus, we began jumping. However the first couple of attempts were unsuccessful. We had underestimated how hard it was to grab the branch, and wound up doing a number on our hands. We would not be denied our glory, however. We kept trying and trying, and eventually we were all able to grab onto the branch, and pull ourselves up to sit on it. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing. We felt like we were on top of the world, even though we were about 6 feet off the ground. We were so satisfied with our success that we didn’t even consider trying to climb higher. We had gone through to much to make it this far, and the next branch was to high to reach, anyway.
for as long as I can remember, the water has been part of my life. every summer for the first five years of my life, I spent my summers at the beach on the south shore of long island. my favorite part was the waves; they were both thrilling and terrifying. I remember the first time that a wave swept me off my feet and dragged me under the water. it tossed me around and made me do flips under water; I had no idea what was going on, but i knew that i was frightened. when the water finally released my, i was very disoriented. when i finally got my bearings and analyzed what happened, i said, “that was cool,” and ran right back into the water. However, when I was five, my family moved from the south shore to the north shore of long island. What a drastic difference. Instead of huge, crashing waves and smooth, sandy beaches, I was greeted with tiny waves and rocky beaches. I was very upset at the beginning, but I learned to deal with the new environment, and ended up having a great time at these new beaches. To this day, I am still infatuated with water and the ocean. I go to the beach every summer, multiple times. I’ve decided that for the rest of my life, i need to live within 45 minutes of a beach. Lets see if I can stick to that plan.
That last one is from our first day together in the Crum.
We’ve done pretty amazing work, haven’t we? Hope to see you around the Crum!
The Crum is much emptier now than when we first got to know it. When I walk through the woods now, in freezing temperatures, everything is still. The only motion comes from the last few falling leaves and the bitter snore of winter wind.
Our first trip was full of life: bugs buzzing around plants I had not known were so important to their survival, a garden snake, children playing in the polluted water, tear thumb grabbing hungrily onto any article of clothing that got close.
I did a written journal entry that I never managed to scan and post on here, and, now that its appropriateness is long past, I’ll just post this little bit of it:
I took this down as the leaves had just started to fall. Like little sprinkles before a big rain shower.
The cicadas were still feverously calling then. I remember listening to them slowly get out of sync with each other, and then return in harmony. It felt like the work of an experimental musician, not a swarm of insects.
As students here, I feel like we get to see more of the Crum as a lifeless array of trees than as a living forest. The swarms of bugs and the greenery all vanish come autumn, and don’t return until spring. That range covers most of the time we are stuck here. Perhaps that was the reason the Crum seemed to unusually alive to me in the first few weeks of the semester. We’re mostly here while it sleeps.
Prompt Stuff: The idea of setting a fantasy novel in some version of the Crum is pretty interesting to me, so here’s an idea:
I think any story built on the Crum’s geography would necessarily have to start from the side of it our campus sits on. I can picture a reluctant hero, a member of his tribe/clan/society chosen by fate to journey across the creek into the distant and strange land beyond. I can see him standing atop alligator rock, looking at the yellow-leaf-covered ground on the other bank. First, though, he’ll have to carry himself down the 100ft cliff face (well, this obviously needs to be on a larger scale or else crossing the thing wouldn’t be a big deal).
I could keep going, but I’ll keep my ideas tucked away until I get to writing that fantasy epic. Seriously, though, the other side of the Crum is caked in yellow (birch?) leaves, and it makes for a very beautiful, ethereal sight. (See Rebecca’s photo in an earlier*)
*quick edit: It looks like they’re probably maple leaves. In my defense the birches here turn the same hue.