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Archive for September, 2009

Today was a beautiful day.

Till this semester I have successfully avoided eight a.m. classes, but then the English department went and scheduled Literary Criticism, required for English Majors, at eight a.m. I know I’ve no right to complain, what with global hunger and natural disasters, but it is one of the hardships of my very plush life to get up at seven every Tuesday and Thursday and drag myself over to Stowe Hall and listen to Dr. Hood talk about the difference between mimetic and pragmatic interpretations of literature. I guess I would fall into the pragmatic school of thought: if I like it, I read it. And if I DON’T like it, (ahem, Sir Philip Sidney) then it is even more difficult to wake on a cold, semi-dark morning and face four hours and fifteen minutes of classes till noon.

But today I got up, and when I walked out the suite door I knew it was fall. Pale gold sun and a crisp breeze scented with that indescribable yet unmistakeable smell of autumn. Autumn at the Abbey is beautiful. Just the five minute walk from my dorm to Stowe Hall reminded me of how I much I love my school despite it’s craziness and tendency toward high school-like drama.

It is a beautiful place, with the spires of the basilica rising above the campus and the clock tolling out the hour. The red brick of old school buildings against the bright blue of the Carolina sky, and every year I find more strange nooks and crannies to claim for my own–the attic of Stowe Hall, the fountain in front of the monastery, the fig tree next to the mail-room, the balcony behind the Haid Theatre. I remember sitting in front of the monastery beneath the magnolias last Spring when our Victorian Literature class talked Dr. Weir into moving our lecture outside.¬†And always monks in their black robes in the coffee shop, in the monastery garden, laughing with students between classes, coaching sports teams, teaching theology, playing frisbee in the quad with the students, and praying, always praying.

I remember last autumn, falling in love with Vincent and seeing the campus through his eyes: the misted street lamps at night, and the flaming color of maples as I walked down Abbey Lane to class. And I remember my first year, the lost freshman feeling of uncertain friendships, and hot tea, laughing with Jordan when we got back to our room at two a.m., stuffing ourselves with Oreos before falling into bed.

It has lost none of its magic. Once, when discussing with a friend where I should go to college and listing off the names of my choices, he stopped me when I mentioned Belmont Abbey. “Oh, you have to go there. That’s such a cool name: Belmont Abbey College. I mean, how many schools are called Abbeys?” Pause. “But it really is an Abbey. It’s a Benedictine Abbey. And a college.” He stared. “Wow. Then you have to go there. How cool is that?!” He was right: I did have to go, and it really is cool. I love the dry bed of Tex’s Creek running through the campus, the old graveyard over-hung by the huge crucifix, the sifting light of sunshine caught in huge old trees, the seminar courses held around the long table in room 301 of St. Leo’s Hall, the deep leather armchairs in Grace Auditorium that are dangerously conducive to sleep rather than study.

And today, walking to class at five till eight, I remembered all of these beautiful things: about my school, about my life, about Hamlet, and Dostoevsky, and even about Sir Philip Sidney, bless his heart, and about how lucky I am to live in a place so extraordinarily lovely.

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