Wandering around Berea

Draper Carillon Tower, 2005

It’s strange to wander around a place you know well that you haven’t really seen in two or three years. Things change, people change, and places themselves change. I gave Ben a tour of Berea College this morning and we peeked inside buildings and walked around places I hadn’t looked at in years. So I guess there were two things that struck me 1) lots of things have changed since I last really looked around the college and 2) it is strange to introduce Ben to places that have been so integral to seven years of my life, especially since they were so long ago and the places have changes so much.
Part of the strangeness is that almost every square foot of the campus holds strong memories for me, but almost all the memories revolve around people and almost none of those people are still in Berea. While I have gotten to see a number of them this week, our lives have changed and we are no longer the people we were back when I was in college. Some of my friends have babies or husbands or boyfriends. They have traveled and changed jobs and changed life paths. While Berea helped them become who they are today, they did not stop growing once they left, and that is what makes them interesting, but also what makes it odd to see them year after year. Like people, I expect that the college will stand still when I leave. No buildings will be renovated, no faculty will be hired or fired, nothing will change. But it does, because that’s the way things work. So just as my friends move on, so the college does. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a little surprising every time. My stomach does a little jolt, (like looking into the Pearsons lobby…seriously????), and then I’m fine. I’ve moved on too, and I love my life.
On the day the picture above was taken, we were practicing for graduation. The next day we would stand in front of relatives, friends, and DESMOND TUTU beneath this tower and receive our diplomas. We’ve all gone different ways since then, but many of us find our way back to Berea because, like an old friend, no matter how much the college changes, some part of us will always belong to this amazing place.

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