Thursday, January 29, 2009


The stale, musty air of the red line gave way to the wet, winter air of Harvard Square. I opened my umbrella and tilted it forward into the wind. The streetlights and the headlights are reflected off the wet roadways that are covered in cascading, slushy ruts of snow. Surprisingly, the passing cars are slow and deliberate in their movements and I deftly make my way across the street.
Passing through the iron gate I traverse the icy footpaths in search of Sever Hall. I mentally try to remember the map that was sent to me as rain that makes it under my umbrella drips off my fedora. Suddenly I step into a very deep puddle at the intersection of two paths. I'm thankful that I'm wearing my winter shoes as I reach out for firm footing. My right arm is a counterweight to my courier bag which is weighed down with text books. I find my footing and maneuver around the small lake. A young Asian girl smiles at me. It is a kind smile tinted with compassion. She has watched my adventures in the water and learned from my walking faux-pas. She now walks through the snow that covers the grass on the other side of the walkway.
I look up at the fork in the road. I contemplate asking a fellow pedestrian for directions but I balk and convince myself that they could be new here, too, and may not know their way around either. Instead, I hazard a direction and follow the left path. Through the raindrops I see a building looms in front of me. I glance over my left shoulder. A spark of recognition takes hold. "If that's the library and this is the yard then I think this is where I want to be." But, truly, I have no idea. I see a lone smoker standing off to the side of the grand stairs that lead into the building. I decide to pull over and ask for directions.
"Excuse me. Can you tell me where Sever Hall is?"
He smiles sarcastically, knowingly. "Right here," he says, gesturing with his chin.
"Lucky guess on my part. Thanks a lot," I smile and head up the stairs, leaving him alone in the rain. Another young woman holds the door open for me and we both stand in the vestibule and close up our umbrellas. Once again she reaches a door handle before me and I follow her inside.
The air is warm here and full of activity. Many faces pass me on their way to who knows where. Some are clustered together, engaged in conversation full of an easy camaraderie. Others walk alone, either with i-POD stems in their ears or chatting into a cellphone. The minority walk completely alone, bereft of outside stimulus. Their arms are laden with books and they have a look of determination on their faces. They're searching for something; either their next classroom or a friend or something more.
I know I am.
Room 111 is easy to find. I sit outside on the long benches for a few moments and gather my thoughts (or is it my courage)? On the billboard in front of me I see offers for trips to Cancun, Florida and other warm destinations full of scantily clad hard bodied woman holding large, fruity drinks. "Wanted:Tutor" is pinned up next to a request for a lead singer in a new band. I smile to myself. The more things change...
Finally, I stand up and open the door. Beowulf & Seamus Heaney awaits.
Today, I am a student at Harvard.


Blogger Bridget said...

Congratulations on the start of this new journey. Not an easy path to take, but certainly a fulfilling one. You always looked like a Harvard man to me..and now, here you are. Show'em what you're made of.

10:05 AM, January 29, 2009  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Hahvahd!! Woo hoo!!

Nice post, Andy.

5:27 PM, January 29, 2009  
Blogger Fox In Detox said...

Congratulations Andy. You're gonna love it!

7:31 AM, January 30, 2009  

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