September 16, 2005

Ithaca is Coming

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Following several days of swampy humidity, the weather finally broke sometime last week. With it came some rain, which will hopefully return the grass to green before it becomes shrouded in snow. The temperature dipped low enough one evening that it prompted the donning of a sweater by my friend. I, still content in sandals, shorts and a tee, asked her why; her response was simply, “It’s chilly out.”
“Agree to disagree,” I responded.
“Well I’m cold.”
There was no point in continuing to argue. However, my query had unintentionally sparked some torrid conversation amongst the other girls in the room about the new clothes they had lined up for the fall and winter. I didn’t have much to offer to the conversation, so I sat back and listened to the clamoring group as they talked about everything from Burberry to Polo.

Not being entirely interested in fashion, I retreated from the conversation without giving it much thought. But, I was then struck by the truly disheartening insinuation of the conversation: Ithaca is coming. So before anyone delves too deeply into a catalogue or wraps themselves too tightly in a scarf, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind us of what’s coming and say adios to what’s falling behind.

In just one short month Cornell’s true personality will reveal itself. The libraries will be a bustle with kids strung out on coffee and Adderall. Parents will sprout up on campus in less expensive cars than they left for their kids. And, we’ll all be happily anticipating the end of prelims and the start of fall break.

This time of year will come, sadly, with a price. The price will be steep, and drain us all of more than money. Sandals will take their place in the back of the closet, as sneakers, and ultimately boots move to the front. Shorts will serve as little more than filler for drawers and shelves. Sunglasses will be supplanted by beanies, and shirts by sweaters. Sun will give way to gray, and Ithaca will move in and set up shop.

But we don’t have to give in to the looming inevitability of Ithaca’s winter yet. My feet are still ripe with a sandal tan, and shirts are still optional. Let us not speak of the fall clothing line or think merrily of tromping to class in Uggs; embrace the warmth – or what’s left of it.

Cornell is much more pleasant with a sparkling lake below and clear blue skies above. Take joy in those who consider the Arts quad an ultimate Frisbee stadium rather than a confluence of paths to navigate the snow. Smile and remember the congregation of students basking in the sun far beneath the suspension bridge. Be sure to get your sandwich from Mac’s and find a seat outside in the glistening sun to enjoy your meal. Take these moments and remember them, because Cornell has a date with Ithaca, and she usually buries us in not too temperate weather.

Ithaca is coming my friends, and even though I will brave the outside with sandals until my toes turn blue, I too will eventually give in and lace up my Wolverine snow boots. Fall break will slink by, and October, November and December will strike us down with great vengeance.

Despite snappy fall and winter ware, we’ll still find ourselves crunching across frozen fields. Our faces will always be tilted downward so as to avoid the icy bite of an Ithacan wind whipping around the clock tower. The once sparkling lake will give way to its alabaster surroundings as it is slowly encroached upon by ice and snow. The snow will pile up so high one night you’ll have to put your shoulder into your door just to get it open in the morning, but classes wont be canceled, not here – it would take an act of God to cancel classes at Cornell.

But all ye new students fear not, for with a Cornellian seven month winter comes some positives. Ithaca will grant us with at least three or four sunny clear days between November and March. There is a chance that we’ll return from spring break and find no snow on the ground. And, last but certainly not least, the snow provides the slope with an ultimate sledding experience. That said, I’ll still take sunshine and Snoop on the slope any day over sledding.

I apologize for a grim outlook on the weather, but I offer as much only to remind us all of how nice it is now. We should use every day left to enjoy green grass and trees with leaves. Take a Sunday afternoon and enjoy a rousing match of Frisbee golf just north of A-Lot, before its rolling hills are suffocated by winter. Go on a run around Beebe Lake before you form an army of pasty white tread millers in Teagle come November. Inevitably winter will come, and yes we’ll survive, but before it does be sure to enjoy the lake, the sky and the grass. And please, don’t get excited about your boots and Burberry yet, because we’ll have plenty of time for that.

Archived article by Brad Hill
Sun Contributor