If you live in the mid-atlantic region, you know that today was one of those rare, perfect-weather days–no humidity, bright sunshine, endless blue skies with a few wispy clouds on which to rest romantic notions of summertime. The entire day was a postcard-perfect setting for the last day of the semester, and for the end of another sort of era: Today I stood in my office for the last time. Although my final exams were done on Wednesday, I had come in for the day to have some quiet time for grading, and to say goodbye to the space in Mitchell Hall that has been my home of sorts for 4 years. Starting Monday, Mitchell will be renovated into a more modern space, and will house other faculty members in the future.
I’ve done a lot of living in Mitchell Hall. My office regularly hosted “Crockpot Tuesdays,” a one-semester tradition with a communal lunchtime hangout surrounding the slow cooker. It saw “Fruit & Nut Hour,” a followup to the crockpot gathering. It fostered the formation of lifelong bonds with people who have changed the course of my life (in a good way). It ushered in the sunrise through my homemade curtains on dark winter mornings. It served as 221B Baker Street for my last Halloween party video invitation. And today, it reminded me about all those things for one last time.
Any photographer knows about Good Light–that fleeting series of minutes before the sun goes down when the landscape is bathed in a golden glow. Everything, and everyone, is perfect in Good Light. And when you’re standing in Good Light, you know it because it feels magical. There is something about Good Light which peels back the veil that normally obscures the way we all fit together in the world. For just those few moments, the gossamer strands that connect everything around us become visible.
When I got home from the Friday Night Happy Hour Ride this evening, all the neighbors were sitting outside. Grilling, throwing a frisbee, or sitting out on the deck with a beer, everyone knew it was Good Light. As I rode home along the Struble Trail, all the walkers knew it was Good Light too. All of them, without exception, gave me a smile and a nod that said, “Hey–Good Light.”
I have to say the beautiful thing about being 39 is perspective. I’m old enough to recognize Good Light when I’m standing in it. I know that on days like today, I need to pause and really feel the experience. I’m still young enough, however, to be able to do things like ride my mountain bike to an event like FHHR and have it seemingly require no more energy than breathing. I’m old enough, though, to be very, very grateful for that fact.
I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s officially summertime.