I just wanted to tell you that I, for one, am incredibly grateful that you are back. There was a moment the other day when I left my dorm, in the particular frenzy that seems to accompany all of my mornings, and was greeted with an incredible light and heat that seemed to thaw my bones. I was running as late as ever, but I took a second to stop and just stand, turning my face towards your sunshine as if I were a flower.
I was at peace in that moment, despite the surrounding chaos of tardy students and squirrels running up and down the trees. Your sunshine reminded me of something that I couldn’t seem to conceptualize in that moment, but have finally understood. I realized that I’ve felt that warmth many times over; like your ubiquitous sunshine, it is everywhere once you learn to recognize it. It’s the warmth found in hugging an old friend that you haven’t seen in ages — the magic when both of your relentless schedules finally allow for a chance encounter. Once you start looking, you’ll see it everywhere, from the energy of a friend’s smile to the sounds of skateboards, scooters and roller skates galore, or the mischievous glint in the eyes of a man devouring a rapidly melting ice cream cone.
I honestly hadn’t realized that my bones needed the thawing until you came by; I mean, the winter wasn’t that bad, right? In fact, I came to like it, since the winter holds its own beauty. Nonetheless, I’m writing this today to apologize for spending my entire life taking you for granted. At home in Florida, your presence was constant in an ever-changing world, and quite frankly, I didn’t know any better. In my eyes, even if the world fell apart— and it often seems to — you would still be there, shining, to make it all the more bearable. How naive I was!
Here in Hanover I’ve learned that this simply isn’t the case, that our world can fall apart and that sunshine might not be there to make it better. I spent most of the winter watching as you withdrew, and marveling as those around me seemed to as well. It was only when I felt your light on my skin and watched the effect that you had on those around me that I truly recognized your power. So while the winter may be beautiful in its own way, on that first day of sunshine campus woke up from a slumber so deep that I’m not quite sure we knew we had fallen unconscious.
I’ll be the first to admit it: We’re addicts. We Dartmouth students are truly addicted to the sunshine. It seems that the second we get the smallest taste of you, our campus explodes in a celebration of color. We start jumping headfirst into the Connecticut and pull out vibrant sundresses and pastel shorts from the depths of our closets. People begin using any excuse they can to bask in the sunshine, often “studying” and taking meals out on the Green. Even the animals follow suit, with the puppies and freshman boys alike chasing after baseballs and frisbees. Campus leans into your energy, grateful for every drop.
In light of this spring, I can fully understand why so many past civilizations worshiped the sun. I suppose that Dartmouth does too, albeit a little differently. I think I can speak for many when I say that there is no greater peace in this world than when I am stretched out sunbathing like a feline — lazy, carefree and unassuming.
Thank you once again, Sun; I just hope that you know how much you mean to me. I am grateful for you, forever and always. After all, there is simply nowhere better than Hanover on a sunny day.