Break of Autumn

A small feature about the first day of Autumn on the SIU campus:

The fountain roars a constant stream outside Morris Library.

Students seated only feet away, under the shade of the umbrella tables on the concrete foundation, hardly seem to notice. They are too engaged in conversations or distracted by their electronic devices and study materials to take in the environment.

Inside the library, students litter the seating around the coffee shop. Like those outside, they are all engrossed in their own worlds, indifferent to the happenings around them.

Whirring from a coffee blender can be heard above the relative silence of the area. The air carries the fragrance of its products to each nose in the lounge

Lincoln’s head, cast in bronze, watches with a callous gaze as students bustle in and out. His nose is worn to a golden hue from the rubs of those wanting a hint of luck in their endeavors.

Through the metal detectors, the ear is met with a delicate silence occasionally broken by the exclamation of an overzealous undergraduate.

The constant flow of click-clacking keys creates a rhythmic hum to rival the chorus of the robins outside the walls.

Overpowering the coffee scent of the entry way, the smell of printed knowledge occupies this region. It permeates the air thoroughly, as if to add to the assertion that this is a place of learning and knowledge.

A familiar atmosphere of disinterest inhabits this area, as students are diligently engaged in completing their work so they may escape the confines of this temple to intellectual effort.

Stepping out the back door, the air conditioning exhaust overpowers the senses.

Directly ahead is Thompson Woods, the climax of the campus’s outdoor charm.

Paved paths cut through the dirt floor like concrete veins carrying the blood of the campus from point to point.

That blood traverses those paths, oblivious the chorus of the birds nesting among the treetops and the scampering of squirrels around their feet.

Eyes blinded by screens, ears deafened by speakers, minds dulled by disregard, the students of the campus pass by the beauty of this day.

It’s the first day of autumn at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and students are going about their business as though it were just another day.

Unconcerned with the transition this day marks, the campus carries on.