I’m walking down the pathway to Collins Memorial Library. The sun is shining down on the obelisk before me, causing its marble to glisten. The trees ruffle their leaves; a wind sends them to and fro. It’s quiet out. People walk in various directions, off to Todd field or to North Quad. They go their solitary ways. And I am alone.

Suddenly, the court awakens into life. I hear the chirping of the birds from deep in the trees. Their song barely reaches me, but once I hear it, it doesn’t leave me.

The trees, too, come alive, slow dancing to the ballad of the birds. They throw leaves into the air, which float to the ground, sweeping back and forth like kites on the wind. The light and the shadows of their lush caps dance among themselves. The one seems to say to the other, “I wouldn’t be here without you.”

I look down to the ground, where, lining the path I walk along, countless blades of grass rise and bow. I watch them bend forward and straighten, only to kiss the ground with their tips again. Beads of dew crown some of them.

I reach the steps of the library. But before I open the large wooden doors, I turn around and look back at the world through which I have come. The court is empty, as it was when I entered. But where I thought I was alone, I see that I am not. The court is teeming with life of all kinds.

I realize then that people, despite what their circumstances might tell them, are never alone. There is as much life in the empty places as in a crowded room. All I needed was to be alone to see all the things that I had missed. I saw the revelry of the trees to a song of love sung by the birds. I saw the communion between light and shadow, and the religious bowing of the spears. I saw what many who have walked that path missed or have taken for granted.

I walked through the double doors into the library, and wondered how much of life I had missed.