Observing

The KVCC courtyard: almost a square but not quite; however, surprisingly symmetrical. It’s good to have a taste of freedom in the middle of a school. After a few swooping glances, I notice that there are about eight different varieties of trees, and approximately seven types of shrubbery'”one of which is dedicated in memory of Dixie A. Thomas (1987-2004). I wonder if she spent much time in the courtyard; as it seems to receive the most care , and is the only of its kind (around these parts).

I am surrounded by windows, as if enclosed in a habitat preserve or a zoo of a sort.

But I suppose I could say the same for the people I see inside. Now I question which side of the glass provides the “freedom” I spoke so fondly of earlier. Apparently both do, thus setting a contrast and a balance. This is a controlled environment to some degree, so even the plants don’t necessarily have freedom. Someone tends to this place. I would very much enjoy seeing this courtyard grow untamed. That would be a sight, and a cool one at that: a thick forest in the middle of a school. I could be on to something; though that’s not say I don’t enjoy the rolling-hill-valley that currently exists. I suppose that may be what the Kalamazoo Valley Community College courtyard tamers were going for.

I decide move down the gentle slope, and I take a seat beside two of my classmates. In a brief moment of silence I glance at a vacant bird’ s nest. Doug, his name is, begins to speak. I respond in a fraudulent display of my attention before I realize that I would like to hear what this human is saying. It turns out to be very interesting. Doug spent a lot of time in Vietnam; I will learn something from him. He is heavily entranced in memory, and knows I’m listening. He describes an instance where he bought a gun at a tea shop in downtown Saigon. The bullets were more expensive than the gun. I think of the irony as Doug’s stories keep flowing with every stumbling, random detail. He spent thirteen days in a wet hole surrounded by “charlie”. My friends dad used to say,”Charlie in the bushes getting stronger while your sitting here watching t.v.” The problem with Doug’s situation though, is that he could not move or would undoubtedly be killed. He survived off the water in the hole, using his hands to filter it as much as possible. “You’d be surprised how long a person can live off tree bark,” he said. The story flips. Apparently, Russia and China sold guns from WWI to the North Vietnamese. They were ancient weapons compared to newer U.S. technology. That didn’t seem to make a difference though. Doug was drafted into the war. I respect the guy. Interesting, where my observations have led me. When I take a moment to just observe, I find we are all just humans in a jungle, whether it be concrete or tropical. Perhaps an overgrown jungle in the KVCC courtyard would be a better taste of freedom.