penchant

This week I attended a conference at my alma mater; the University of Notre Dame.  The days were busy with leadership sessions, guest speakers, and networking, but there was ample time to walk the campus and experience the sights of times gone by.  It is a place where pride, sentiment, and fondness combine to where I am unquestionably drawn to it. In a word, I have a penchant for Notre Dame.

ND Dome

What is immediately apparent about Notre Dame these days is its physical expansion.  The entire campus of my undergraduate experience – now thirty years ago – is surrounded by new buildings, longer quads, and grander athletic facilities.  As a whole it is breathtakingly impressive, even for those who have visited many times before.  But when I cross the proverbial threshold from the new to the old; from the present to the past, to arrive in the sub-campus of my day, there comes a sense of calm and familiarity that can only come from experiences that leave a permanent imprint.

ND Quad 1

My walking tour took me past my academic and social haunts.  I passed several buildings where I experienced the triumphs and tragedies of the classroom.  I passed several dorms – including my own – where the memories of friends and roommates and dates and parties came back to me as if yesterday.  It was easy to get wrapped up in the blanket of yesteryear.

Students were everywhere during my walk.  I was delighted to see some of the same habits and activities.  Frisbee on the quad.  Boyfriend/girlfriend walking hand-in-hand.  Dozens of undergraduates desperate for the spring sunshine relaxing in shorts and t-shirts.  In that moment I wanted to be one of them again.

I captured my walk with a lot of photos.  Every turn – whether for beauty or nostalgia – had me pausing and clicking.  It was as if I was trying to capture the essence of my past and trap it inside of my phone.  Which I realized, in hindsight, was simply not possible.

ND Crowley

Notre Dame has some very special places.  There are two lakes in the middle of campus with quiet walking paths around them.  There is the Grotto – perhaps the most special of those places – where one can light a candle and say a prayer in the shadow of Notre Dame’s cathedral: the Basilica of Sacred Heart.  And there are dozens of corners where you disappear behind a building or down a walkway, and suddenly realize you are alone in the peace and quiet of the moment.

ND Lake

I walked past one of the lakes for several minutes trying to recapture the moments and voices of my years.  I sat at the Grotto trying to summon the spirits of such a significant time in my life.  Even at the bookstore – where Notre Dame’s name or logo is imprinted on everything imaginable, I wandered the aisles in search of… in search of… I’m not sure what.  Did I really believe I could purchase my memories in a shirt?  Or a book?  Or a photo?

Thirty years can change a place forever.  New buildings, new students, and the personality of a new generation dissolve the images of what once was.  And so, as I completed my journey down memory lane, I realized that what I sought, I already had with me.  My years at Notre Dame; my experience that was like no other, rests proudly and permanently in my memories.  No photograph or keepsake or paragraph will ever do it justice.

 

About Dave

Clearly I have something to say. This blog was born of a desire to elevate our speech, using the more eloquent words of past generations. The stories I share are life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a sometimes-forgotten word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read "Eloquence" to understand more about the inspiration for this blog. Read "Phenomenon" for a taste of life in my neighborhood, or "Pageant of the Masters" for a few thoughts on golf's most hallowed venue. On the lighter side, read "Banana Rant" to see how much I dislike the yellow fruit. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".
This entry was posted in life in a word and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to penchant

  1. moniganz says:

    Tried leaving a comment yesterday, don’t think it went through. Enjoyed reading your story, seeing photos and going down memory lane. It’s true, once we leave a place and we go back years later, what we see cannot compare to the memories we have in our mind. Only old friends who were there when we were can make the memories come alive through different stories. Here’s to ND and SMC memories!

    Like

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s