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Walking on campus

| Wednesday, February 27, 2019

We do a lot of walking as students. To class, from class, to the dining hall, from the dining hall, to the student center, from the student center — I could go on. Sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it’s hot. Maybe there are puddles on the sidewalks, or maybe there’s snow. If you’re lucky, the sky is blue. Some people prefer to bike, others scooter. Last year some guy was getting around campus on a unicycle.

I like to walk. Walking to class helps me justify my terribly inconsistent fitness routine. When I’m walking, I like to look around. Maybe I’ll see a friend or a familiar face. I like to wear some headphones and listen to music as I walk.

In the fall when the leaves turn and the air is crisp, I listen to Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon.” I like the honesty of his guitar. In the winter when the sky becomes gray and the air bitter, I listen to Saba’s “Care For Me.” The lyrics distract me from the frozen. In the spring when trees teem with budding pastel and the air sweetens, I listen to Phoenix’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.” It reminds me of high school.

I don’t like listening to music with earbuds when it’s warm outside. There’s more to enjoy without their help. People talk with each other more. Maybe some birds chirp overhead. Maybe there’s a breeze.

I like looking at buildings when I walk. You see a lot more when you’re walking alone. The gutters on Fitzpatrick Hall have tarnished bronze Notre Dame monograms. The Law School is really into Thomas Aquinas imagery. Alumni Hall has a relief of Knute Rockne on one of its walls. Walking on campus has really helped with my Notre Dame trivia knowledge.

If it’s nice out and I need to call someone on the phone, I’ll walk up and down the tree-lined paths of God Quad. The walking keeps me from fidgeting. It’s nice when those trees are full of leaves and I can sit down on one of the benches beneath them and just enjoy the afternoon.

On Fridays, when I’m done with my classes for the week, I take a walk around Saint Joseph’s Lake. I leave behind my phone and just take my time. Often I’ll begin the walk with the intent of reflecting on a particular thing, but it never goes very far.

My favorite walk on campus is trekking back in the earliest of morning hours from the Hesburgh Library to my dorm, Sorin. It’ll have been a long, coffee-fueled, anxiety-ridden night and my eyes will be drooping. I’ll stumble out of the Hesburgh elevator into the darkness. I’ll see Mary atop the dome and hear the rushing waters of Stonehenge.

The best part is walking through God Quad. At night, the basilica and Main Building will loom over me. They’ll make me small. I’ll set my eyes on the statue of Christ. His arms will open wide. His pedestal will invite me to go to him. I’ll go to bed and save that for the next day.

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

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About Thomas Murphy

Thomas is a sophomore in the Program of Liberal Studies, where he double minors in Business & Economics and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He is ideologically in favor of the Oxford Comma, and encourages readers to contact their local representatives regarding the codification of its usage.

Contact Thomas