Post- Magazine

lawn people [lifestyle]

be present, live in the moment

Tending to the lawn is a source of pride for some and a burden for others. My younger brother, for one, holds the former sentiment. As the eldest daughter of my family, I managed to escape the duties of mowing the lawn; that honor was bestowed on the son. Classic. When my brother first took on the responsibility, he did so hesitantly. Whether it happened gradually or with an epiphany (it is still unclear to me), he gained an affinity for a task that most would consider to be a mindless chore. For him, it’s therapeutic—notorious for his chicken-scratch handwriting and cluttered room, he finds solace in the clean, straight lines of his lawnwork. The neat piles of lawn clippings and the precision of the striped grass are his own form of artistry. 


A lawn, in general terms, can be any patch of grass. For us Brown students, the most well-known is the Main Green. Although spring officially began a while ago, the physical manifestations have only recently started to germinate. Magnolias, cherry blossoms, and daisies are everywhere. Signs of rejuvenation. In the past few weeks, I've spent hours basking in the sun, pondering the ubiquitous joy felt around campus. In doing so, I’ve subconsciously made a ranking of the spring-time lawn activities that I’ve observed:

  1. Lounging, in any and all forms: For the cozy dwellers who love napping, yapping, hammocking, reading, tanning, daydreaming, or some combination of them all.
  2. Spikeball: Great flexibility in the range of participants, for both the adrenaline-seekers and the occasional dabbler.
  3. Music, in any and all forms: Even if it’s unintentionally eavesdropping on the songs vibrating from a nearby stranger’s speaker, I find it wholesome to be able to share and create music with others.
  4. Ball sports (excluding spikeball): Volleyball, soccer, playing catch. Exciting and low-maintenance.
  5. “Working”: What you’re really doing is posing as a muse for the romanticization of Brown by prospective students and tour groups. Boring but justifiable (we still need to get our degrees somehow).
  6. Selling clothes: An admirable feat, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone—encouraging second-hand shopping and nonchalantly flaunting your style. Regardless, I will always be lured by it.
  7. Frisbee: Unless you have incredible coordination, a skillful flick of the wrist, or a lot of open space, this is not for the faint of heart. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen frisbees fly astray and hit an innocent bystander.
  8. Slacklining: If you can do this… I envy you.

Slightly adjacent to the Green are the people sitting on miscellaneous steps of Faunce, Manning Chapel, University Hall, and Rhode Island Hall. Whether it’s to avoid grass stains or to destress in a more secluded spot, sitting at this slight elevation is a perfect starting point for something even more indulgent: people watching. There’s so much to notice in the minute details. A spring in her step, laptop in hand, wires pouring out of her backpack, that girl is definitely late for her three-hour-long biochem lab. By the bear statue, there’s a guy practicing tricks on his skateboard. In the span of ten minutes, he only lands two, but his persistence is commendable. He seems like the type to wait in line for an hour for an Andrews burrito bowl. On the slope in front of Friedman are two best friends. His head resting softly on her lap. They are blissfully oblivious to the world around them, fixated on nothing but each other.

At times when the school can feel small, where everyone seems to know everyone, all it takes is a visit to the Main Green on a sunny day to be humbled. It feels as if thousands of people spawned onto campus overnight, left to roam and act freely. In observing these details, there’s something intriguing about the dichotomy of both the mundanity and messiness of the day-to-day. One moment I’m relaxing on the Green, and the next, I’m pressing my head into my hands because I’ve hit rock bottom trying to get my machine learning model to train at an accuracy above 80 percent. On the Green, I can savor the feeling of the gentle breeze slipping over my skin. I can hear the melody of birds chirping in the distance and the faint laughs of friendships strengthening, lifelong bonds forming. Only a short walk away, in the depths of the Rock, I sit in silence as I’m consumed by thoughts of deadlines, meetings, interviews, and impending doom.

The nature of time, paradoxically both fast and slow, is reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite books, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. It is a story of two people who find beauty in exactly that: the feeling that time doesn’t seem to move at all, yet passes in a flash. As weeks, months, years and decades pass, they grow into individuals of their own with lives that couldn’t be more different, but they are always bonded by their deep-rooted love of video games. From childhood best friends building virtual worlds together to adults confronting the complexities of the real world, they wrestle with the changing tides of life in a way that encapsulates so much of the human experience. Their emotions are raw and organic, profoundly resonating. In some chapters, the plot feels stagnant and uninteresting. Other chapters are inundated with one heart-wrenching event after another, always in the most unexpected circumstances. Thinking about this book reminded me that moments, both good and bad, are fleeting. Even if the days seem to drag on, the weeks will fly by. As the weeks fly by, the months will vanish into thin air. Yesterday, I was a timid freshman having my first dinner at the Ratty on move-in day, and in a few weeks time I will (unofficially) be a senior buying furniture for my apartment in the fall. 

The end of the school year is always a bittersweet moment: the recognition of another year of growth as we’ve navigated this microcosm of a world on College Hill. It’s the time for a tearful yet tender reflection upon the people we are now, the moments we’ve shared, and the memories still to come. In this liminal space between childhood and adulthood, we are told to ride the waves of college through all of its trials and tribulations. “Just figure it out.” No handbook, no checklist, no rules. In trying to “figure it out,” I’ve been searching for the comforting lullaby of the past and yearning for a reassuring promise from the future. In a life that isn’t mine anymore and a life that isn’t ready for me to see just yet. So the best I can do is live like lawn people and be in the present, where I can embrace every day like it’s a sunny day on the Main Green. 

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.