et lacrimis turbavit aquas, obscuraque moto
reddita forma lacu est
-Ovid (The Metamorphoses, Book III, lines 475-476)
As we walk to our observation spots, the rain begins to splash onto the surface of the water, and the disturbance, manifested in a multitude of concentric ripples, reminds me of this passage describing Narcissus’ panic as his tears disturb his reflection, with which he’s fallen in love due to a curse. As the date of graduation and my subsequent departure approach, I see the figurative reflection of my musings in his story. The sadness and nostalgia blurs my view of my surroundings, as I try to ponder my history with Exeter, to appreciate the present, and have confidence in my future. I’m panicking as I begin to see my presence in these places become obscure.
I don’t know anything about the specific species of trees present in New England forests, except that pines and oaks are common. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” so I’ve never really believed that memorizing the exact types of trees and which ones have which bark type or leaf shape would add to my appreciation at all. The forest in which I sit is similar to the ones surrounding my house, with the horses a few hundred feet away, the tricky cover of leaves on the uneven ground, and the evergreens solemnly framing the grey sky. However, I can’t call any of the trees by any specific name, and I feel like I should be embarrassed that I forgot to learn their names. As the bus left the Fiumicino airport in Rome on the first day of my term abroad, I remember looking at the oddly shaped umbrella pines and Cypress trees lining the road, and I missed the broad shade of the trees arching over the roads to my house in Exeter.