I came to college with the quiet goal of separating myself, from the other people there, and from the violent vivacity that that permeates Long Island. It was easy to think that after driving four hundred miles northwest from the island, I would have escaped the suburban sprawl. Winter at Geneseo made a particularly persuasive argument that life there was not the same, and so, when it snowed, I was compelled to seek places where I could step back from college life and marvel at its movements. One such place was the gazebo, which is perched on a sharp incline overlooking the college union quad. There’s something interesting about this structure, as it sits directly in the heart of the college, yet still provides an undeniable sense of solitude. For me, stepping under it wooden-slat roof was like stepping into a snow globe. But, perhaps it was the farthest thing from one. The roof was supported by powerful wooden posts, painted picnic-table red. It had benches that usually cradled a student, powering through a textbook. Encircling this respite, where snow could only drift in on gusts of wind, was a stone wall, about waist high. I think now, this wall must have added to the illusion of a snow globe.
In my first winter at Geneseo, I stepped out of the snow and let my feet dangle over the edge of the gazebo’s wall. This kept my boots dry and my thoughts crackling with flame. If I observed attentively, I could hear the snowflakes pitter patter onto the gazebo roof and I could see puffs of smoke exhaled from trembling lips. I could smell the refrigerator air and I could feel the flakes peck my cheeks. As I observed all of this from the gazebo, I noticed that there was something that collected all of these little details into a wintry painting. The world was covered in whiteness.
It was an immense whiteness which extended across the valley, swallowing trees whole and freezing the mouths of rivers shut. And yet, the ruddy cheeks of students trundled numbly through it, like little poppies, braving the cold.
And there I was on that stone wall, thinking I was behind the glass, safe in a snow globe, when I looked at myself, and I realized I was covered in snow, with snowflakes on my boots, and ice on my gloves, frozen in white, just like the world around me.
David Sabol is an Junior English lit major at SUNY Geneseo and is focused mainly on writing poetry and creative fiction. One of his major influences in his writing has been F. Scott Fitzgerald.