Planting bulbs at Arcadia University's Spruance Fine Arts Center
Jamie gears up to plant flowers near Spruance Fine Arts Center.

Down, Dirty, and De-stressed

“That’s it!”

I snapped my laptop closed, reached over, and pulled on my dark-blue rain boots. Grabbing my keys and phone, I clomped down the stairs in Kistler and headed outside for the top of the Walk of Pride.

I needed to get away from the homework and get outside.

No matter what your major, there is always that one point in the fall semester where the work load gets to be a bit too much. This semester, especially, I feel as though I’ve spent more time in front my laptop than anywhere else. Which is why when I saw a flyer for a bulb-planting day on campus, I eagerly signed up.

Now it was finally Friday, the day of the event, and I couldn’t be more relieved. I crossed the cobblestones and approached the check-in table, thoughts of Modern British Literature and the rise of industrialization happily slipping from my mind. For the last week, I had thought of nothing else but my paper, and I was now officially burned out.

I reached the tables and signed in, and a smiling student handed me a shovel and some gardening gloves, and told me to head down to Spruance to get to work.

Already, I was starting to feel better.

Down by the art buildings, I eagerly chose my bag of bulbs from the pile of supplies the volunteers had laid out for us. Then I scanned the area, staking out the perfect spot. People were planting in the beds to my right, but I noticed that a section of trees had gone untouched. I headed over.

I know it will be a hard few months, but thanks to moments and experiences like this, I get the chance to pause for a moment and think about the big picture.

As I worked, I reveled in the natural ease of my task. Out here, I didn’t have to think about how to properly format my Works Cited page or the best way to set up my introduction. I wasn’t surrounded by the chatter of critical authors who had been in conversation about my text. For the first time all week, I could just focus on one task. Out here, it was just me and the bulbs.

As I dug in the dirt and breathed in the fresh air, I felt the tension in my shoulders recede. Just like these bulbs, I would have to hunker down before I could burst into the real world, a graduated senior. I know it will be a hard few months, but thanks to moments and experiences like this, I get the chance to pause for a moment and think about the big picture.

I planted six bulbs, making a circle of hidden life beneath the cool soil around the base of the tree bed. Once I got about eight inches deep, I poured in a bit of fertilizer, nestled the bulb into place, and covered the hole with dirt. When I was finished with each spot, I stood up and stepped back to admire my handiwork.

Covered beneath the dirt, you couldn’t see proof of my efforts of the past half hour, but I knew what was waiting underneath the soil. Some day soon the bulbs would emerge from the soil, ready to take on the world.

Some day soon, I would, too. And hopefully continue to make the world a more beautiful place.