On Flowers

My favorite time in Swarthmore is the spring. Winter is full of slogging across Mertz field and dragging mud on the dorm room floor. Summer is unbearably humid, causing my glasses to fog up every time I leave a building. Autumn comes close, but it just doesn’t have the beauty that spring does. 

When everything shut down last spring, I, like so many around me, felt an acute sense of loss. One moment I was home on spring break, and then I got an email that I wasn’t coming back to campus. I remember frantically trying to figure out what would happen to my stuff, if someone could ship me my socks, and what this period would even look like. But the one thing that stuck with me was the fact that I left about a week before the cherry blossoms bloomed.

Which is a weird thing to get fixated on in a global pandemic. I felt like the literal embodiment of the “Kim, there’s people that are dying” gif. But I missed the flowers; I missed the magic of the Cherry Border. 

I wish next year for us all to be back on Swarthmore’s campus together. For those of you at home missing the flowers, or for those of you who have never had the chance to see in person the beauty that is Swarthmore in the spring, this is for you. 

This photo was taken outside of Kohlberg, I actually hadn’t noticed this particular bush before this year, but I was drawn to it because it stood out as particularly cheerful on a gloomy March day.

This bush is located in between Mertz and Old Tarble. It’s one of my favorites due to its delicate and ephemeral nature. It only blooms for a couple of weeks and the flowers themselves are so thin and soft, it feels impossible that they survive at all. 

This photo was taken outside Wharton EF. I had never seen this tree before in the night because I live on the opposite side of campus, but I was struck by its beauty and translucent aura.

This last photo was taken on Mertz field as well. The first thing that drew me to this small tree was actually its smell and the amount of bumblebees on it. It looked to be quite young, so I hope it remains on Swarthmore’s campus for years to come.

All photographs courtesy of Bess Markel.

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