Among the more vibrant and scenic spaces in these parts are the campuses for our small colleges. School’s in, and the park-like setting at Bethany College is busy again, taking a deep breath and looking here and there, as though it had just come out of a long nap.
The scene recently was typical: of vans and wagons tossed against the curb, doors open, piles of clothing and boxes of whatnot lying about, trains of people bearing arm loads in and out of doorways and along the halls like stewards overloaded, preparing to pitch camp after a long day on safari.
Earliest days are for searching: a place to park, for the lost power cord, the missing back pack, a better chair, a code to log in; or for negotiating: a place to park, a bigger closet, a later class, a reluctant window, an open window, a not-so-reluctant roommate.
The grounds are astir, people moving along the walks, among the gardens, past the statues and fountains, the beds with grasses moving in the breeze. Here is the thrum of opening week, prelude to autumn, its brisk dawns and freshly laundered air. Summer, its vacant stare of oppression and heat, is doomed to memory. Youth has returned, carrying promise and energy, and the grit and pluck of inspiration. The students move over the grounds as though skating to music, and the campus seems to cohere – a really thrilling thing to watch, bodies at last freed in their persistent attempt to catch up with the spirit.
A campus brings the revivifying energy of youth, of classes for the enrolled and lessons for us all.
‒ JOHN MARSHALL