This is the first day of my post-Follow Your Heart Day road trip. I visited The Colorado College and met up with my friend Megan. We ate at Wooglins Deli. A sandwich there is $7. Colorado College tuition has gone up 500% in twenty-two years, but the price of a sandwich is about the same. We wandered the campus and saw the destruction of the recent winds, giant trees knocked over, trunks snapped in half or roots pulled out of the ground. We stopped at what was once Benjamin’s (they don’t sell food at all hours now; it’s more like a cafeteria than a café), looked around Worner Center, went down to the soccer/lacrosse field, Cutler Hall and finally stopped at Shove Chapel, where at least four of our CC Clan group were married, including Megan and her husband Langdon. When we walked in, there was a young man playing the piano, and he was amazing. The music was transcendent. Not only was his playing pure, passionate and, from what I could tell, flawless, but he played everything from Mozart to jazz with no sheet music. We sat and listened to him for thirty minutes as he went from song to song. After we left him, still playing, we talked with one of the Shove staff, and she said he’d been playing for hours already. It amazed me that he was so lost in his music that he could go on and on like that, and that he could keep all of that gorgeous music in his head.
Megan and I reminisced about the days when the Clan would sneak into the catacombs under Shove and hold “Mostly Dead Poets Society” meetings. We sometimes called ourselves the “Stunned Poets Society,” unable to choose which homage we wanted to tack onto the Dead Poets Society movie: The Princess Bride (“He’s only MOSTLY dead”) or Monty Python (“He’s STUNNED. You stunned him!”). We would gather with candles and read poetry to each other, some classics, some original pieces. We wrote notes to future generations of catacomb crawlers in soot on the ceiling of those subterranean concrete rooms. What an amazing, special thing. It is like our own time capsule. The Mostly Dead Poets Society was only one of many remarkable things the CC Clan did, but unlike all the rest, it is immortalized. Somewhere, down there, our markings are waiting and probably won’t disappear until they raze Shove to the ground.
I remembered feeling sure of myself back then, like I knew exactly what was important and that I was going to go get it, even if I didn’t know how. I wanted a whole heck of a lot, but I didn’t expect anything. I actually assumed I’d be dead by age 25, from some crazy-ass stunt or another. I was open to the world, eyes wide and senses alert to each moment because I didn’t have any assumption about what I would get.