In the shady tassels of a sunny day, a picture-perfect couple walks an English Mastiff. In one hand of the brunette, she loosely grips a colorful coffee mug. It’s labeled Chicago, and has a sketched image of the high rises in downtown Chi-town. The dog has a tie-dye leash dangling from his collar, accompanied by an unadorned man wearing a bright smile. It seems natural that he is walking the dog, as man’s best friend generally acts out this role.
Directly across from me, there stands a petite Canadian hemlock. It’s kind of a sad one—all thin and weightless. It has these reedy branches and white flowers poking out of its base, though. This makes the corners of my lips form into a kind of smile. Beneath the tree, there sits a thick, green shrub that seems to totally contradict the frail nature of the tree. It’s a shrubby lespedeza, I think.
The sun is shining, although I sit in the shade. When I walk into the sunlight, it pulsates this magical feeling into my body—a warm sensation of vibrant colors and gentle goodness. It’s only March, so we don’t normally experience stirs like this at the tail-end of the winter season. The flaming ball of gas beats down on the immaculate surface of nature, giving life to its dwellers. It triggers a newfound respect into people.
As I stroll along the free-flowing path of the university, an abundance of students on tours reveal themselves to me. A sea of lines and files from all directions, they have come to catch a glimpse at their near futures. They wear bright faces of optimism as dads walk alongside their daughters, and mothers walk alongside their sons.
One kid, seemingly a football player in nature, keeps on the wandering pathway. He stands next to his stout mother, whose lips are fixated downwardly. A relic of Jesus Christ is plopped on her neck, like she’s swaggering around her fandom of the Dallas Cowboys or something. The kid, significantly taller and more broad-shouldered than his mother, doesn’t understand that he’s about to head off to university. Here, his mind will be expanded and his ego will drift like a Buddhist monk, because that’s what public college aims to achieve. He’s going to struggle at first, because of his preconceived notions of the world and its nature of competition. He will come to know, though, that competition isn’t everything—for humans at least.
It smells of spring, even though it’s not spring. There’s a lamppost, but it’s in the middle of a bed of flowers so it doesn’t seem to fit. There’s a story behind it, though. There’s a story behind everything for that matter. The story goes: Herman B. Wells wanted students to be able to read a book as they walk across the entirety of Indiana University’s campus. The lamppost is not turned on as it is, after all, daytime. Sun replaces man-made lights during the day.
From the distance, the fattest building on the whole campus is clear as pure water—the Indiana Memorial Union. Poking out of the starship of a building, waves the stars and stripes—an American flag hung high for the world to see. Even in the liberal education system, we must surrender to this flag of imperialism. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to see these patriotic symbols hammering down on the people of IU. It’s comforting to see at least some reverence in the eyes of counterfeits.
A parked, pasty Chevrolet Silverado sits on the street, nestled next to a neon dumpster. On the side of the truck, there lies simplistic artwork. It reads: F.H. Paschen. S.N. Nielsen. Peering through the passenger’s window, a tarp tucked over a chain-link fence is in plain sight—drifting in the wind. There isn’t anybody in the driver’s seat. I wonder what the story is behind the guy who owns the car—everybody has a story. Putting stories to all these empty faces on campus perplexes me a bit, but it makes me feel better to know that these people have purpose as they frolic throughout campus—or least they pretend to. Living each moment like it matters, allows the world to keep turning and people to keep living.
Through the array of trees, I see another lamppost sitting in a bed of flowers and brush. Tall trees tower above, piercing the sky with its outstretched branches. To tell the truth, it makes me feel bad for that poor Canadian hemlock I saw earlier. In opposition to the towering trees, there are smaller, younger trees that are merely growing. One day, the tall trees will die, and those trifling trees will eventually reach the heights of the tall trees. This will happen over the course of many years. You and I might not witness the fullness of this process, as trees tend to outlive people.
Above me, two crows sit pretty on separate elongated tree branches. They seem to be conversing, as they face each other. The dark creatures catch forty winks on two different trees—the towering ones. The first bird flaps his wings and searches about him. He travels from one tree to another tree. Both birds are black, scary-looking things. They look like vultures, as they stare into the depths of my soul.
All of the sudden, amidst the bustle of nature I hear my name being called. The cocktail party effect has immediately run its course on my attention.
I turn around to see an olive-skinned student, staring up at the two birds. Another student next to him looks up at the birds and then over at me. He pushes up his oversized glasses with his index finger.
“Buddy!” said the other student.
After a quick glance, I begin to recognize these students as my friends from class. Pleasant, rhythmic soundwaves fill the air, coming from the olive-skinned kid’s iPhone 4. The pair bop their heads up and down along with the beat. I recognize the wordsmith’s voice coming from the speakers of the phone. He has the tone of a rapper and the diction of a poet. Kicked off my shoes and tripped acid in the rain. It’s Chance the Rapper.
“What’s up dude?” I reply.
“Yo, quick question,” says the kid with the glasses. “Do crows eat squirrels?”