My Happy Place

When things are at their most hectic, I force myself to remember my happy place. I only experienced it for a few brief minutes but the feeling I had was so transcendent that it has stayed with me throughout the years. It was the summer of 1984 and I was on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park. I’d just come out of the North Administration building where I had added a much needed class for my senior year.

North Administration Building, University of Maryland, College Park

North Administration

I was relieved and exhilarated at the same time and I sat on the steps of the building to enjoy my victory. Drop/add days at the University of Maryland were always tense and frustrating. On more than one occasion I had ended up with a class that was not only not my first choice but not my second, third, or fourth. On this day, however, I was victorious. I remember looking across the mall at McKelden Library with its Greek columns and noticing how incredibly blue the sky was against the white of the building. On either side were these old growth trees that added that a cool touch of green. In that moment, I was perfectly happy. I stayed there for almost thirty minutes, just taking in that picture and enjoying my contentment.

McKeldin Library from the mall

The view of McKeldin from the fountain

My happy place

Imagine this view without a cloud in the sky.

For some reason, I didn’t take a lot of pictures of my college years. That was before the digital phenomenon, of course. Pictures didn’t do much for us in those days. Most of the time they just sat around in an album or worse, in the development envelope they came in. So, I Googled the campus to see if I could recapture the image of McKeldin against a pristine sky with those magnificent green trees. The campus has changed quite a bit in the nearly 30 years I’ve been away from it. McKeldin’s still there but it looks so different. In fact, it took me awhile to recognize my old haunts (at least on Google images). Perhaps it’s time to update my happy place.


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