If anyone knows me, they know that I have a deep emotional connection to trees, more specifically, the turning of the leaves on campus each fall. As I fell more charmed with our campus’ foliage during my first semester at Ship last year, I decided there could be much worse things for a college student to derive joy from.
As I was particularly enthralled with the appearance of last year’s leaves, I began to become more acquainted with their characteristics, colors and locations. Growing up, I would never understand all the hubbub my mom would make over the beauty of the trees on our way to visit my grandparents. But as I’ve grown older, I understand. In a day-to-day life filled with deadlines, meetings, exams and anxiety, I thoroughly enjoy the wonder of their personalities during my treks to class.
My personal favorite tree on campus would be the one that sits between the Ceddia Union Building and Dauphin Humanities Center. It stands so tall and its copper leaves are so vibrant, but what makes it special is how its arms reach over the path to Grove Hall, decorating the path with its leaves as I walk past. I like to think it’s wishing me luck on my way to my next exam.
Another favorite is the bright yellow tree that stands closest to the west side of DHC. The word I can use to most accurately describe this tree would be “effervescent.” Its branches extend every which way while its electric yellow leaves emulate warmth to passersby on the chilliest of autumn days. Later in the season, its golden leaves scatter across the grass as they glisten with the leftover dew of autumn rain–when the sunlight hits them just right.
My all-time favorite tree on campus is the one that sits directly in front of DHC. This tree is an absolute show-off (which I can respect), displaying the most color out of any of the trees on campus: golds, greens and even amber on the tips of its branches. Its grandeur looms over the Adirondack chairs that rest beneath it–perfect for flipping through the latest edition of The Slate.
While I look forward to witnessing the evolution of the leaves each autumn, I realized I can never depend on them to stay the same for long. This year, the leaves fell much earlier than I had anticipated, as my nose was buried in my own personal challenges this time around.
If there’s one thing this year’s foliage has taught me, it’s the importance of enjoying my surroundings, because I can’t always depend on the beauty in front of me to stick around. But while the leaves (and life) may appear differently than they had last year, that doesn’t mean the way they turn out is any less beautiful.