Tonight was the second meeting of a faculty/staff book group that’s reading the Odyssey together. We sit in the well appointed living room of a campus-owned guest house, sip wine, eat hors d’oeuvres, and discuss this book with the added benefit that the man leading the book group is a classicist. It’s pretty much an ideal way to spend one evening every couple of weeks.
With my head full of heroic happenings and the memories of good conversation, I walked back across campus to the library. In one lighted window there were two students stooping close to a microscope. In another lighted window, someone bent over a piano’s keyboard and sent peeling scales out into the night. In the middle of campus, laughing students played hockey on the ice rink while their friends cheered them on. A student stopped me to see if I had time to meet with her tomorrow.
And I realized that my schooling from infancy onward has primed me to love this atmosphere of communal learning and exploration. I love being among people who think it’s normal to probe deeply, value probable and improbable connections equally as long as the reasoning behind them is clear, and start conversations with “So, that reading we had yesterday. Do you think…”
I realize that this isn’t the only way to live. I realize that for some it’s irrelevant to the point of laughability. But this is where I feel at home. Here, in this kind of environment, and among people like this, my own interests and questions and quirks and day dreams come alive. This is where I belong.