Craving Middle Path

While studying remotely this semester, a junior reflects on how Middle Path contributes to the Kenyon experience.

By Jayne Gelman ’22
Three students walking down Middle Path

Today, I woke up craving something. I thought about it as I brushed my teeth, as I unloaded the dishwasher. I daydreamed about it during my remote class (Sorry, professor!) and the thought of it distracted me as I attempted to do my reading. All day long, like a woodpecker against my brain, I could not stop thinking about Middle Path.

I miss a lot of things about being on campus. I miss sticky old-side tables in Peirce, too-small Ascension desks and especially the K-Card scanners greeting me with a “beep!” as I enter Gund Commons. But today, I miss the perfect early fall morning on Middle Path, temperatures teasing to drop, but holding out with sunshine for a few more weeks. I want nothing more than to walk through the college gates, saying hi to someone with their headphones in who won’t hear me. What I would give to look around uncomfortably and hope no one saw that.

I miss the rainy, cold Middle Path on a February morning. Those Ohio winters where it feels like you haven’t seen the sun in weeks. When Middle Path is covered by ice sheets, snow, puddles and abandoned mittens. I miss laughing with friends and strangers as we try to avoid slipping, and watching as someone else’s new white sneakers fall victim to the elements. Been there.

I miss those days that Middle Path makes you feel like the most popular person alive. Where face after face greets you with a smile and a wave. What perfect timing that all 15 of the people I know here are walking back from class at the same time!

I wish I were at school, running to the Science Quad after foolishly trying to squeeze in a quick nap between classes. I wish I were looking at the latest art (graffiti?) on the wall around the library construction. I wish I were walking to class, not logging onto another Zoom meeting.

Most of all, I crave being on Middle Path alone on a Friday afternoon in autumn. I can see it so clearly: I’m alone, the setting sun is dancing through the yellow leaves and the gravel is crackling under my boots. The sound of footsteps relaxes me into a meditative state. Being a remote student is lonely, but somehow the only thing I want today is to be alone, there, on that path.

Jayne Gelman ’22, an environmental studies major from West Virginia, is an intern for the Philander Chase Conservancy. Read more pieces like this on “A Knox County Almanac.”