Saturday, August 30, 2014

Snapshots: End of Summer

Looking toward the river, I begin to scramble down the slope. My worn shoes slide for a split second on some loose dirt, then I regain traction on rockier ground. I scramble down the rocks at a slightly reckless speed, almost falling several times before the ground levels out. Then, tentatively, carefully, not wanting to fall in and spend the rest of the day with wet shoes, I venture out onto the rocks in the middle of the river. Hopping from one rock to the next I arrive at the middle of the river. I crouch down and dip my hand in, feeling the cold water, snowmelt from Mount Hood, flow between my fingers. I stay there a moment, living, feeling, experiencing; I stand. Lifting my head, I can see a sliver of the waterfall around a bend in the river. I glance back down at the river flowing by my feet one more time, then resume hopping, clambering, climbing, and sliding on toward the waterfall.

"Gather round, children," I yell in my best British accent. A dozen freshmen come forward and form a semicircle around me as I proceed to introduce them to my beloved campus. I point to the buildings, giving them their names and their (sometimes seemingly unrelated) acronyms; I explain what each building is used for, then tack on my personal touch, the secrets that it took me months to learn that have enriched my time here at BYU, the things I hope that each of them get to experience during their first year--I tell them about the musicals and the dances, I advise them to search out their classes early in the building that is built like a maze, I crack a joke and, more because I'm speaking in a British accent than because it is actually funny, everyone laughs. Then I turn to a girl in my group that is actually from England and hesitantly ask, "how's my accent?" 
"It's really good," she says, giving me a bright smile with a hint of pity behind it, "but you should stop it."
More laughter.