A few days ago, the last World of Lore book, “Dreadful Places” came out. I loved the first two, so when the third was announced, I was excited. You see, I am highly fascinated with insane asylums and, in general, the early days of psychology. I just knew this book would feature some of my favorite places, such as Danvers, and Trans-Allegheny asylums. I was certain Dr. Walter Freeman and his ice pick lobotomies would be mentioned. So, as soon as the book hit my hand, I was enraptured.
But, I didn’t want to stay home, either. We’ve been having an unseasonably warm spell that was due to end soon, and I just wanted to be outside enjoying the sun while I still could. So, I packed a lunch, my book, and some coffee, then headed to campus. (See, when I used to say “campus” it was understood I was referring to Stark State. As I am officially, blessedly, and irrevocably disentangled from Stark, understand that “campus” now refers to the school I actually go to, now: Kent State.) We have a pond that is used to study ecology and wetland stuff, but the school has taken the time to build a really nice walking path around the pond. For as many times as I’ve been around it, I can’t remember ever seeing benches, but I’m a girl who isn’t afraid to get the backside of her britches dirty. I started walking and waited to find just the right tree to sit under and read my book.
Oh, I found her, too. Her name is Bianca and I love her with my whole heart. She’s a beautiful little maple that has yet to turn her leaves for the season, and in the short while I sat reading, we bonded.
It’s okay if you think I’m insane. If you haven’t loved, and been loved by, a tree, I don’t expect you to understand. But since sitting in Bianca’s shade Tuesday, all I can do is think about my tree.
So yesterday, I gathered more rations, packed a blanket, and headed back to my favorite tree. I sat there for hours yesterday, reading and appreciating the sunshine. Today we have gray skies and rain–my favorite!–but I just want to go back to sitting under my tree, watching the leaves fall around me and feeling the wheel of the year turn just a little more.
I often wondered if I’d ever feel fully at home at Kent. Back in the 90s, when I went the first time, I never felt like I actually belonged there. Truth be told, I didn’t. For as much as I threw myself into Stark, it was another case of consistently feeling like I wasn’t welcome no matter where I was. I was too old to be a student, too much of a student to consider my actual peers to be peers. I always knew I’d end up back at Kent, although not at the main campus, due to distance. A part of me hoped that I’d be able to maintain my solitude and still find that sense of belonging. I’ll be here for another four years, at least, finishing my Master’s, and I dread the idea of plugging away so many hours somewhere I’m not appreciated for who I truly am. I just won’t stand for a repeat of Stark. All those hands grabbing at me, wanting me to do this for them, do that for them, the false flattery, the smiles to cover that I was, essentially, just being used to stroke someone else’s ego. The sad truth of my time at Stark looks like this: It was never me that was wanted, it was what I could do.
Through discovering Bianca, I finally found what I’ve been looking for all these years, a quiet place to sit, be still, and be myself. Free from technology, free from chit-chat, free from responsibility, free from false pretenses. Free. Just me and Bianca, watching the world go by. Trees won’t do you wrong.