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viewpoint

Small moments

| Friday, February 13, 2015

­Winter is upon us, finally.

It took its time getting here, that’s for sure: when leaving for winter break, not having snow on the ground actually made me uncomfortable and question what was wrong with the world. Having grown up somewhere with four distinct seasons my whole life, it was a little off-putting. Now, as I listen to others complain about being sick of winter already, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for them.

And no, not just because they’re from Florida or Southern California; that makes me sad regardless of what the thermometer reads.

My feeling of pity for those disgusted by the snow arises from the apparent inability of people on this campus to perform a simple act: to look up. In the last week and a half, there have been two or three of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen.

Last Thursday a bright, cheerful sun shone in a saturated, deep-blue sky creating sharp contrasts with the pure, clean snow that covers this beautiful campus. I began walking to North Dining Hall but was struck by how defined the Dome was and couldn’t help but take a few photos walking around God Quad. From there I just began walking. I spent almost an hour and a half outside before finally my phone succumbed to the cold and hunger drove me back.

I thought this was a pretty normal activity on such a beautiful day, yet almost everyone who passed me shot only weird looks and side glances my way. If I looked over at them, you’d have thought whatever was directly opposite me was on fire, the intensity of their stares. Indeed, the only acknowledgement I received directly the entire time was walking the shore of St. Mary’s Lake. An elderly couple, out for a stroll with their dog, said ‘Hello’ to me in a manner that conveyed the opposite.

Saturday night I was struck again, this time by the sunset as I trudged to DPAC for a screening I was supposed to see for a history course. I’ve seen some great sunsets, yet the sky’s fire that night matched even the best of them. I paused to take photos on God Quad again and looked down South Quad where a group of people were building a 12-foot tall snow dragon, an extremely impressive feat. In that time though, I was nearly run over by a group that approached while I was clicking away, oblivious of me and that sunset until the last possible second. At least one of them stopped to snap a picture after that.

I missed the documentary that night, arriving 15 minutes later than I wanted, and the screening sold out. Although an email from Dan Graff is sure to follow this column, I wouldn’t change a thing about that evening: sometimes living just gets in the way of life.

That is my only complaint about this great place. There are times I’m taught more about how to make a living than about how to live. Then again, you can’t really ‘teach’ how to live, can you? Life is made up of moments that never return and you either seize or miss them and we can only help to draw attention to them.

Maybe I’m just weird for taking a few minutes out of my day to do something I won’t directly obtain a degree, job or hangover from. I fear the possibility, yet it begins to feel more and more the most reasonable explanation.

Please, look up, pause and admire the small moments every now and then. I can’t promise this suggestion will land you that internship, but hopefully it’ll help you to live.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Zach Klonsinski

A senior History major, Zach resides in Knott Hall. Hailing from Belgrade, Montana, he has covered a wide variety of sports in his time at Notre Dame, including Football, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Fencing, Rowing, Women's Lacrosse and other events around campus.

Contact Zach