Campus Chronicles: The Many Faces Of Fall Around Chestnut Hill Reservoir
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 22:10
Autumn imparts numerous indications of its arrival and lamentable brevity around the Boston College campus. From the seasonal iced pumpkin drinks and steaming vanilla lattes that complement cool weather-clad passersby as they hurry to catch their 9 a.m., to the squash and gourd displays that decorate various administrative lobbies with harvest overtones, and the whispers of Halloween and the costume that will trump all default ghouls and goblins, fall is definitely in the air. And, paramount among these autumnal expressions by its irrefutable communication of seasonal changes is the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.
The Reservoir in particular demonstrates autumn’s approach as colorful— fallen leaves embellish the already appealing trails that surround the water’s edge. And not only do BC students seeking an escape from midterm turmoil recognize this but so, too, do the greater Chestnut Hill and Brighton areas—it seems as if the brisk temperatures and enticing crimson, amber, magenta, and copper foliage attract an increased number of people to the Reservoir during autumn due to the location’s relaxing atmosphere. Evidently, nature’s epitome of crispness suits walkers, talkers, runners, thinkers, photographers, and prayers alike, for each day brings all walks of life to navigate the body of water’s circumference. Whether greeting the morning at 6 a.m. or enjoying a jog at 5 p.m. as the sun begins its descent, one can always expect to find faces young and old, masculine and feminine, sweating at a sprint and contemplating a good read on any given adventure to the Res.
Every time I trek down to the Reservoir from upper campus for a quick bout of stress-relieving exercise, I pay particular attention to the day’s respective crowd. I am always surprised by the extensive array of individuals I find there with innumerable intentions, some obvious and others greatly ambiguous. For instance, the cliche runner is commonplace on the trails—an easily identifiable dot that quickly advances as he or she completes a loop around the water. Less prevalent but not abnormal is the pack of bikers that maneuvers back and forth between the paved sidewalk and sandy, inner pathway to accommodate the multifarious groups occupying both routes. Then, the walking couple—a widely popular station—that strolls along talkatively appears to be the wildcard among the rest: just friends, clearly more than, with strollers, without, holding hands, enjoying a wide girth between them, elderly people carefully traipsing, adolescents loudly gossiping.
Often, one can see men and women of differing religious ideologies sitting in contemplation on benches that surround the Reservoir, or otherwise praying quietly from a book near the water’s edge. Evident too are photographers at sunset or dusk attempting to capture autumn’s abounding beauty in a shot or two. Families walk the path together, sometimes with children speeding ahead of their parents on tricycles to wait for mom or dad at the designated stopping place. And, of course, to the pleasure of many college students missing their dogs, innumerable tail-wagging breeds happily trot along, enjoying all of the air’s autumnal aromas.
With studying for the always-stressful midterm exams and scrambling to finish cumbersome papers, the mid-semester rush and clutter has BC students extremely busy for the next few weeks. For this reason, also, the Reservoir seems to have risen in popularity given the escape into seasonal awareness that it provides students—and, not only this, but the release of endorphins allows for increased concentration upon returning to schoolwork. Aside from the welcome 4 p.m. study break from which many gain sanity, other student groups within BC utilize the Reservoir’s excellent exercise path and therefore benefit from its autumnal splendor: ROTC members often run there in the morning as part of their fitness regimen, as do many varsity and club sports teams.
The Res allows individuals not only to appreciate wonderful seasonal changes and, in particular, autumn’s recent arrival, but also to depart from the business that is academia.