Sounds of Ash

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I sit on the porch of Morgan Hall and Ash stares back at me, his branches drooping lazily in the heavy fall air. Cars and trucks rumble as they idle at the crosswalk on High Street and students too focused on where they are going ignore the chaos. Every now and then a thin wisp of wind cuts through the air bringing with it leaves and the dying breaths of summer. The crowd of trees among the adjacent field whisper to each other and as the wind grows stronger their whispers begin to grow into a blur of conversation as if we were all together in a crowded room.

The constant clicks and slams of the opening and closing of the door beside me, as students rush to and from their respective engagements wakes me up from the soothing voice of nature. Morgan hall, a bumpy, grey building formed by thousands of sharp slabs of limestone makes no noise except for the awkward clinks and beeps that are triggered by human interaction. A boy beside me rises up out of his metal seat on the porch. As he slides it out it creates a screeching rattle along the tile below it. I begin to stop noticing the flow of conversation between the others at my table and stare back towards Ash’s welcoming posture.

A squirrel near the base of Ash’s trunk stops and frantically scans its surroundings, almost as if it knew it was being watched. It stands still, frozen like a statue waiting for something. A pair of legs comes between the squirrel and my gaze and suddenly the sound of claws scampering up tree bark faintly brushes my attention and the squirrel is on his way up the trunk. Branches wobble and leaves crinkle beneath its weight. I can almost tell where the squirrel is based on the sound of his mischievous wandering. It is an intriguing sound that leads me to wonder about the squirrel and what resides within its world among the branches. Is it as familiar with those branches in the same way that I walk the paved paths around campus?

Ash shakes in the wind once more, like a dog emerging out of water releasing itself of the weight it bares. Cars continue to honk as their engines ferociously guzzle gasoline. Squirrels run among the same field where students throw a Frisbee from one end to the other. The human and nature connection becomes apparent as they each interact and contrast each other into an even harmony. I sit here contently on the porch of the stark grey building, Morgan Hall, and I notice its juxtaposition to the perfect awkwardness of the curves on Ash’s body.

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