On a quintessential New England fall Saturday, during half time at the Harvard football game, I asked a Dartmouth fan, clad in his preppy green crewneck, the pressing question of the moment, “What’s your mascot?” I inquired. “The big green,” he sheepishly responded. Those words propelled me back to the summer, when I first stepped on campus. Everything was so green! I couldn’t stop taking photos of all the grass and trees and ivy. I wrote about it, I talked about it, and naturally I sneezed about it.
Back in LA, pre-Harvard, I would tell people that I felt grass-deprived. I missed the blades sprouting from the earth, the leaves on the trees. Indeed, we had majestic palm trees dotting the skyline and yes, there was a little green sprinkled at the top of those. And, outside of the Starbucks near my house, I vaguely remember seeing dogs perched on the little patch of astro-turf when I’d emerge with my extra hot soy latte. But, in general, the City of Angels was pretty lacking in the green department. Once on campus, friends from SoCal would check in and ask, “How’s Harvard?” And, I’d say “Green! It’s so green!” It sounds silly, but the richness made me stop in my tracks, soak in the scene, breath deeper, and see clearer. It felt good!
On Facebook when people would post photos of their kids playing soccer, I’d marvel at the expanse of green, not just on the field itself, but the fields beyond the field. Yet, I didn’t really know the transformative nature of seeing the green or inhaling the green… until now. As hokey as it sounds, nature has helped me be more present, connected and observant. These days, all of that lushness against the red brick buildings has morphed into something even more stunning- hues of yellow, red and orange. Everything looks aglow.
Once again, I find myself stopping in my tracks and widening my eyes to capture the awesomeness. So, while there are endless opportunities at Harvard to feed my mind- the books, the journal articles, the discussions, the concepts, the theories- all which serve to shift or enhance the way I think, conceptualize and problem solve, I have found the verdant surroundings to be a surprising necessity to my happiness, balance and overall zen. Football helps too.
Felicia Kamriani is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. Having been a commercial actress and educator, Felicia is interested in identity formation and how art can facilitate that process.