On Monday of this week, I left my house on 39th and Pine and went the opposite direction of my usual route to The Daily Pennsylvanian office. I turned left on 40th, headed to Baltimore, and crossed the trolley station to get to the entrance of the Woodlands Cemetery. I had to go for class, but I wasn’t mad about it—it’s one of those places on campus I’d been meaning to visit for a while and never have gotten around to.
When I walked through the ornate concrete and steel gate, I immediately felt this sort of stillness. Maybe it’s my obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I’ve always loved cemeteries and found them calm. So walking around one on an otherwise hectic Monday felt somehow grounding. I wandered along the bumpy, cobbled paths, across the squishy ground, and looked at the names of people who died centuries before I was born.
I worried a little, because that’s what you do on Mondays when the weekend’s work has piled up and you have meetings to attend and papers to finish later. I thought about the fiction piece I had to write a little, but mostly I just listened to music and walked, warm in the sun and cool in the breeze. I felt unwatched. I felt removed. I could breathe a little deeper—which is ironic, because my sisters used to tell me that if you breathed when you drove past a cemetery, you’d get possessed.
But it was a beautiful place, a historic cemetery–turned–park. I saw more dogs in twenty minutes than I had all day. And I felt oddly refreshed.
I write this not to make myself sound morbid or like a character in a John Green novel, but to say that a little peace and quiet off–campus can do wonders sometimes. Catch me relaxing with a picnic blanket and a good book in the Woodlands next week.