I sat on a bench in the shade in the Quadrangle, with no classes left for the afternoon but with enough papers and exams looming to insure that I could not feel comfortable dedicating the rest of the afternoon to watching the shade gradually envelop the paths and grass.
I sat by myself, in and of itself a challenge at a time in life when my greatest fear was that strangers would think of me as friendless and lonely. Footballs arced through the sky and a mythical dog-with-bandanna leapt to catch a Frisbee, then triumphantly returning with a strutting step and wagging tail. I no longer felt alone.
Speakers in a window played the inevitable Grateful Dead record, a long dirge of lightly distorted guitar playing 6th chords and reedy voices harmonizing over senseless lyrics about turtles, a combination so irresistible that I found my head bobbing to the rhythm, pushing my worries to the periphery, where they hid behind parentheses until I decided to let them back in.
The temperature climbed a notch or two, bare female shoulders with spaghetti string straps appeared for the first time in months. Slippery grass against the soles of my feet, squirrels in the trees and a different song in the air, like the last one a long meditation on a single chord, backed by a steady beat in a familiar rhythm, the words a friendly call to arms: I’m gonna tell you how its gonna be. The afternoon light dimmed, the music faded away. Inspiration, move me brightly.