The tips of the leaves were fiery orange. Closer to the stem, a faint trace of green remained. Fall had settled in the pavement. Its mark was permanent as the dusty brown leaves being crunched under our shoes. In each direction, I turned and saw people absorbed with their phones and heads tucked down. Others tared down at the ground and tried to avoid the whiplashes of the cold air. Excited conversations stirred through the campus of the plans being made. One young woman’s voice rose to meet the branches of the trees. Her family would come from upstate Maine to participate in a weekend full of activities -the thrills of the hayride that her younger brother loved and the joys of having the family all together again would give her father pride.
Others like myself, walked in solitude or looked longingly into the distance where the middle of the campus was. The obscured view of the symbolic bell tower drew my attention with its rusted copper etched with green. The hedges seemed uninviting now – no one sat at the benches placed directly in front of them. The change of the frigid air had pushed all of us to stay inside. Some days being inside felt terribly crowded. Lunch and dinner hours, people were almost on top of each other with their chairs around the tables. Long lines formed to enter the cafeteria and cascaded into long lines to get food.
A few of the leaves would be swept into the entryways of each building. Their presence left an ominous feeling of dread that midterms were here. Students scrambled to attend every extra credit opportunity and professors fought with overbearing colds.