The Calm Waters

The semester is winding down, which means students campus-wide are preparing for final projects, tests, and papers—each worth a beefy chunk of grade percentage-points. While a few of us have already been hit by the assignments, most of the friends and peers that I’ve talked to are enjoying a brief moment of respite—the calm before the storm. At these moments when we can claim a little time for ourselves, I like to breathe the fall air and enjoy the slowness.

One afternoon, my friends and I got in the car and drove to the movie theatres, intent on making the most of the recent lull in schoolwork. But instead of going our usual way—which consists of traffic and roadwork—we decided to take an alternate route down a hill to a quiet road along the waterfront. The sky at that moment was beginning to darken and the air was beginning to chill. Yet, we decided we could take a minute to stop and enjoy the view.

The water was still. The sky was tinged by the light cast on it by the setting sun. It was receding quietly behind the horizon as the water whispered over the rocks. Some gulls flew against the deepening blue. And all was silent. If we walked out on the docks and looked down, we would have seen families of fish, crabs and plant-life being still or moving slowly, careful not to disturb the water.

We stood on the rocks, as the water flowed around us. We could step from head of rock to head of rock to get back to the car, back to warmth. But we wouldn’t yet. We would be still, like the water.

The wind spoke and sent our scarves aflutter. I pulled my beanie lower over my head, watched the warm air of my breath materialize and rise away, and settled in for another minute outside.

We took two.

The Calm Waters