November 14, 2011

An Afternoon On Campus

An Afternoon On Campus
By John R. Greenwood

It has been almost 38 years to the day since I last walked the former Adirondack Community College (ACC), now SUNY Adirondack campus. The campus has grown substantially in those four fleeting decades. The enrollment and the stature have expanded high above the grassy fields and suburban sprawl that now surround it. This day I felt young for a moment. The smell of soccer season inflated my leathered lungs. The brisk November breeze mussed my grey wispy hair, yet I felt spry and alive. I absorbed the muffled chatter of youth as it played out around me. I sat happy at a picnic table amongst the still green grass and crisp brown oak leaves that fluttered gently by. I smiled with reflective thought of 1973 when my wife of 36 years and I walked hand-in-hand from our cars to class. We never completed our college experience. Instead we chose to wander off together and be one. We’ve enjoyed a winding, fulfilled life, buried in dirty diapers, dreams and discovery. We ran a business, struggled through late payments and power bills. We survived teenage boys and their broken cars, prom nights, and autumn weddings. We are now prepared for yet another chapter with hopes of more to follow. I breathe in deep. I am transposed into the healthy muscular teenager that once walked these lawns. The college experience was brief. A soccer season’s worth was all I had. I have no regrets. Maybe a little want. A want of higher learning. An “Educating Rita” dream of deciphered literature and classic interpretation. My beautiful wife and I chose instead to learn by trial and error. More of a Lewis & Clark Expedition through life. I am content. We are still holding hands, learning still, to embrace ground-level happiness and low flying dreams. What brought me back to (ACC) SUNY Adirondack this cool November day? A new found source of inspiration, talented author, Jon Katz. I met Jon recently at Northshire Bookstore. Jon was promoting his newest book “Going Home.” What I discovered that day was an interesting man who seemed to be on a parallel plane. His demeanor and gentleness a comfort in a sensationalized, cheapened world. There was calm in his voice, warmth in his heart. It showed right through his dark blue sweater vest. I was at ease and at home. On that day and today I publicly mentioned Jon’s photography. Both times his eyes glistened at the mere mention of his ‘other’ passion. I was sure his heart skipped a beat or two. Both days I felt his creative spirit pulsing out into the crowd. His love for animals is legend. His yearning for creative expression just as strong; regardless through which medium it choses to manifest itself. So here I sit again, warm and welcome, in a lecture hall on faintly familiar ground. 
I would like to thank SUNY Adirondack as I promise to now call it. I am now refreshed. I now welcome change. I very much want to thank J. Courtney Reid for her part in bringing the Writer’s Project to the general public. I would like to also thank the Faculty Student Association of ACC, the ACC Foundation, the SUNY Adirondack English Division, SUNY, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This is the first lecture I have attended at SUNY Adirondack. It will not be the last. 
Lastly I would like to thank technology. If I had not made an internet connection, I may never have had the pleasure of shaking the real-life hand of Jon Katz. 


Below is a recorded version of this post
An Afternoon On Campus



 

13 comments:

  1. Nice post, John. And yes, we all have so much to thank technology for.

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  2. ...now I feel like we've met. 'I am content. We are still holding hands, learning still, to embrace ground-level happiness and low flying dreams.' truly stole my breath! I used to think I hated technology, but now I have 'met' too many wonderful people to hate it altogether.

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  3. You and your wife's expedition sounds wonderful!! I'm so glad you are still together. This was a really warm and insightful post. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Good write - real life is interesting. I like how your prose is still poetic.

    Thanks lad.

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  5. I loved what you wrote! I love the thoughtful tenderness of a shared life and the roller coaster moments~ I love how inspired you are and how this author made you feel~ Well Done; your writing is beautiful~

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  6. I loved every wonderful word of this. Love it that you and your wife are still holding hands! Way to be! And thrilled you met one of my fave authors, Jon Katz. I have read everything of his, but now must see if the library has this newest one. About the yearning for higher learning? Sometimes I take a creative writing course at the local college and it TOTALLY satisfies , energizes and motivates me....maybe you could sign up for one??

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  7. I loved every single picture here and your words on the separate post. You talked from your heart, I could tell. Nothing is more sentimental I think than a visit back to a school/campus where you have spent so much time, energy, and memories. Also, I want to thank you for visiting my blog too last week and left me such kind comment. Hope to see your blog piece around. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week with your loved ones. Cheers! ~Olive Tree.

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  8. I am thankful for all who visit here. I am especially grateful for the freedom to express. Period.

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  9. John, thanks for visiting my blog! Funny that this first post is a walk through a large part of your life with your perfect fit of a wife.

    I never attended college - but have never stopped listening and learning. My dad used to say, "Learn a new thing every day and you'll never grow old." See you at the sandbox! I'll bring my hubby, Lex, for a double date. Peace, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/amy-is-back-therapy-in-bb/

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  10. lovely imagery on this.


    How are you today?

    Happy end of November!

    Appreciated your support to our poetry picnic,

    Hope to see you share today,

    A random poem or old poem will do the wonders too.

    Your talent rocks.

    Hope to see you in.

    xoxox

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  11. Thank you John for stopping by my blog and posting such a nice comment.
    So nice for it to have lead me back to your wonderful blog, you write so nicely, your thoughts on this day at campus made me well up, in a nice way!

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