Tuesday, March 26, 2013

You'll Never Slog Alone

Going to school full-time is stressful. Ask any kid. Tests, pop quizzes, locker combinations, crabby teachers, lunch table cliques and clanging bells signaling the changing of classes.

All of these stresses seem to spill over, at least to some degree, into college. In my case, Nassau Community College. There are a few differences though. There aren't a lot of lockers and the campus is much, much bigger. I park my car in the eastern lot and must schlep a good fifteen minutes to get to my first class in North Hall on the far side of campus. On cold or nasty weather days, I walk through every tunnel and thoroughfare building I can, to avoid the outside elements. Still, as I head out the other end of Building G, I must turn up my collar and head windward across the goose-poop ladened commons. When I finally arrive at my destination, my cheeks are red and my feet muddy. I head to the bathroom, not to use the toilet, but to let the warm air of the hand dryer de-numb my poor frozen fingers.

But there is a bright spot. I well remember those shrieking sirens and shrill bells that signaled the change of classes in high school, even so many years ago. But here, on this lovely campus replete with Canadian waterfowl honking their greetings and parking lot seagulls laughing riotously at our human folly, there is no such jarring bell.

It seems a wonderful benefactor some years ago donated an electronic carillon to the college. Situated on the top of the highest tower on campus, it plays to us soothingly as we scurry about. Such a serene and lovely interlude! But what makes me smile every single time I hear it is its magnificent playlist. Such an excellent and eclectic mix, and I commend whoever was its compiler!

No hymns here. Yesterday, it was "Memories" from Cats. The day before it was "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel. Some others have been, "Scarborough Fair, Down in the Valley, Go Tell Aunt Rhodie (That the Old Grey Goose is Dead)" and Stephen Foster's "Home on the Range." Just last week, we were treated to excerpts from the opera "Carmen!"

So I tootle along, humming and smiling my wind-whipped smile, even sometimes catching a bit of sing-along from a fellow student walking beside me. Small moments transforming stress and storm into song and serenity.

Oh, and today, it was "Happy Days Are Here Again." Yes, yes they are. Carillon, my wayward son. And, oh, yeah, Happy Spring everyone.