Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fireflies Rising

As one goes out,
another lights:
hope emerging
from darkness.

Christopher T. George

I had a nice experience Wednesday evening walking across the Johns Hopkins University campus watching a myriad of fireflies rising from the darkness of ground cover near Levering Hall. I live by the campus and it would have been simple enough to walk straight to the Milton S. Eisenhower - Sheridan Library to return a bunch of books and renew my library card. But it was a hot and humid Chesapeake Bay evening and I had brought work home to meet a deadline. So I thought I would hop in my blue-black Saturn hatchback and zoom round to park below the library by the Merrick Barn of 1804 where Theatre Hopkins perform. See link through the title. I always like to park near the theatre as I appeared there in a nonspeaking role as tavern owner Peter Taltavul in a special performance of Chris Dickerson's "Booth" twenty four years ago with William Sanderson as John Wilkes Booth expounding before he shot Lincoln. A zip I thought. . .

Silly me. I didn't bargain with the major construction taking place in the southern sector of the Homewood Campus (what ARE they building? will Hopkins ever stop putting up more buildings???). I was turned away at the southern entrance by a security guard. I ended up parking on Wyman Park Drive by the Wyman Park Health Center, where my late father first received treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma thirty years ago. So I ended up walking as far if not further than I would have walked if I had walked from home!!!!

I renewed a couple of books, returned the others, and paid to renew my card for another year (don't know what I would do without the valuable resources of the Hopkins library, which have been essential to my different writing projects). Walked back up the steps and bought a strawberry iced latté to cool me in the hot walk back to my car along with a New York Times to read about the mess in Iraq.

Students were playing frisbee in the quadrangle (often students from the subcontinent are playing cricket there). The bell tower of Garland Hall chimed 9:00 P.M. (I received my M.L.A. diploma in the hall in 1977 and my grandfather and his second wife Olive were there for the occasion, as well as my parents).

Read a new historical marker next to Wyman quadrangle about the gift of 151.75 acres of the land on which the Homewood campus stands by William Wyman and cousin William Keyser to the university in 1902. Wyman had received the land from the Carroll family and he deeded the land to the University, enabling it to relocate from its original location on Howard Street in downtown Baltimore. He wanted the land to be a buffer against the city which was spreading northward. The campus does remain a buffer, though I wonder what Mr. Wyman would say about the university's burgeoning building program?

I pause in the humid dusk to watch fireflies rising. As one winks off another lights, and another and another. Some rest on the leafy ground cover, others rise and light.

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