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Bridge at Night!

hirakismail's picture

So as I decided last time, I wanted to walk the stone bridge at night. I went this time as the sun had already started setting, and it struck me how quiet it was. Or rather how quiet it became, because as I was descending the hill, I could clearly hear the ducks/geese quacking in the pond. When I got down to the lake however and decided to cross the fence, they quieted down, probably sensing my presence. When I go in the late afternoons, there is often so much background noise; either the athletics teams are cheering or there is some traffic noise. Eventually though, they quacked lightly and shifted their positions in the pond. I think some were settling and trying to sleep. This is the first time in all my visits that I've gotten to see ducks, so I was very pleased and excited by this. As I stood out on the bridge, I remember thinking that animal life can be very noisy too; it's not just humans who can be loud. I could hear the ducks all the way from Goodhart when I was approaching.

But the land itself, and the water, was just so quiet. I realized that maybe this is why the view that nature is a calming force, is a place which brings humans peace, is so prevalent. Because standing on the bridge in the night, it was so quiet, so stagnant, so seemingly unmoving: so unlike my lifestyle. So often I find myself and others just rushing, getting from one place to another, feeling so caught up perhaps in the domesticity of life Williams mentions. And the pond area was so--seemed so--relaxed. It doesn't move the way I do, the plants are moved slightly by the wind, the trees' leaves rustle, but they are pretty much staying where they are otherwise. It was in this comparitive stillness that I found solitude. After I settled on the bridge, planted myself in a standing position, the sounds began. By being still, the life around me began to be comfortable with me. Perhaps it had hesitated to make itself known earlier, but by mimicking the environment and animals around me, I think I became less threatening. It was like the pond had exhaled, and suddenly the rustles in the plants and the chirping and humming of unknown and unseen insects (presumably?) began. I was a little jumpy at first, hearing all the sounds made me nervous. But I realized my sudden movements were perhaps causing the sounds to hesitate, I tried to hold back a little. I felt included then, like it was ok for me to be there.

My walk over the bridge to the center was hesitant. Though the pond was well lit (Rhoads pathway and the dorm itself lends plenty of light to the area), it was still a lot darker than usual, and being from Arizona and associating rocks as great hiding places in the desert area for snakes and scorpions, all I could think about was how I might run into a snake on the way. That was the biggest reason that I hadn't wanted to venture out onto the bridge at night. I walked with eyes peeled to the rocks for any movement, and found myself wondering what I would do even if I did spot a snake in the rocks. Jump into the water? I was feeling very unequipped, but had on closed-toed shoes and socks, so I proceeded. I also found myself concentrating more on my footing as my feet found the rocks; I wanted to make sure I wouldn't tip into the water. I looked out at the dark shapes of the ducks, nearer the athletic fields. On the other side, reflected splendidly in the water was Rhoads Dormitory in all its glory. The sight was sooooooo extremely beautiful, it was like the dorm had melded and intertwined with the winding marshy plant growth in the water, and then the choir began singing. They were either having a performance or a rehearsal presumably; I couldn't see them, but I could hear them, and this added to the steadily increasing noise in the area. So I added to the singing with my own voice and a different song, and surprisingly, the ducks seemed okay with it. They kept quacking lightly, and this made me glad. I wanted to be able to be myself within this environment, wanted to be part of it, and it felt like the ducks were letting me in.

After a while of standing on the bridge, as usual I couldn't make myself stand/sit still for long, so I left the bridge and walked around to the other side. I saw the overturned boat for the first time, which was great; I remember reading about it in Emma's post way earlier in the semester when she was describing the other class who had made a trip to the pond. But on my walk I noticed the greatest thing I've seen for a long time. There were four geese stationed on a rock in the middle of the pond. Ducks and geese were slowly moving across the pond, but these four were literally standing on the four corners/edges of the rock--and each was looking in a different direction. Lookouts? One of them was facing me, the others facing their corners. I looked back at it, so fascinated by this. Were they actually, like actually keeping guard? I wanted so badly to know what they were thinking; this sort of thing I had only ever seen in cartoons, and here they were, in real life, definitely looking as if they were keeping watch. I continued walking over to the boat and heard a rustling in the marsh reeds on the other side of the boat, and that was the end of the site-sit for me. I drew the line at waiting to see what could have been in those reeds, especially because it was night. I left then, walking back to the fence humming and singing, adding my bit of voice to the noise in the night.