Five Senses of a Walk Across Campus

I had to walk from Alumni Hall to Benson around noon. I am not sure I have ever done a walking Five Senses, but thought I would try. I took some voice notes on my phone as I walked. Here goes.

I see…

Grey, overcast skies.

What looks like a lot of empty parking spaces in the lot behind Poteat field. Makes me wonder if we have a lot of students who are doing a early Fall Break..?

The goalpost from Poteat Field is not upright. It’s laying down flat on the grass on the hill near the sidewalk.

A big black eyed Susan plant outside the Sutton Center. A nice touch of black and gold.

A lot of students in hoodies, sweaters, and jeans. Definitely dressed for fall.

An SUV in the visitor lot with a ticket on the windshield.

A custodial staff worker wheeling a large cart (maybe for trash? or recyclables?) in Poteat courtyard. Now that I have seen From the Ground Up, I have a new and fresh appreciation for that job.

The Wake Well refillable water station sitting on the Quad near the Bookstore.

A faculty member and a student walking up the sidewalk outside of Tribble.

A group of 8 or so guys sitting around a table on the Benson patio. Most of them are in hoodies, some with baseball caps. Several – close to half – are vaping.

A girl in a leather miniskirt with metal studs on it.

Two administrators I know having lunch in Shorty’s.

A steady stream of students going into and out of the POD/grab and go market in the Benson Center.

A few of the servers from the Mag Room coming out of Reynolda. They see a cafe table of three young men – assuming maybe they are regulars in the Mag Room because they walked over to the table full of students and started talking.

A surprising amount of jeans shorts (and quite short at that) given the coolness of the day.

No one working out on the track behind the Wellbeing center/Miller Center. Which seems very odd, as normally at this hour there are at least a couple of people working out.

Hints of yellow and orange and some deep purple (almost eggplant color) in the trees. While we are still mostly green of leaf, the fall color is starting to spread at last.

Tall ornamental grasses outside some of the buildings gently swaying in the breeze.

I feel…

A steady breeze. It’s windy enough that if you are wearing something filmy, it will flutter your hem in the breeze, or blow your hair back.

Delightfully cool. After all the strangely hot weather we had at the end of September and the start of this month, it feels good to need a sweater.

Cold, actually. The longer I am out, and the windier it is, the more I wish I’d had a jacket.

I smell…

Clean air.

The slightly earthy, dry, musty smell of leaves on the ground.

No scent of tobacco in the air. Normally on an overcast day, you can smell it being processed at the plants nearby.

The hot grease smell of Chick Fil A.

Bacon and sweet potato fries in Shorty’s.

I hear…

The faint, distant roar of a jet engine overhead as a plane goes by.

The Mag Room crew saying to the guys’ table “y’all like this weather?” and then the guys and staff taking (could not make out the words, but I definitely heard laughing at the end).

Rustling of leaves in the trees as the wind blows. The leaves must be drying out, because it sounds like wrinkly paper.

A thumping sound as a golf cart goes over one of the speedbumps in the road.

A Kelly Clarkson song being piped in to Shorty’s.

The high pitched pinging sound of items being scanned on a scanner at a cash register.

The scooting of chairs as people come and go at the food court in Benson.

Doors swinging open and then closed, over and over.

The rumbling of a bad muffler or a very old car engine in a parking lot. As I look, there is an old orange pickup truck idling, maybe waiting for someone. I fear they need a tune up.

The quick, two-note BEEP BEEP of a car that is being locked via key fob.

I taste…

A BLT in Shorty’s (REALLY good) and my beloved Diet Pepsi (with lemon). All’s right with the world 🙂


That’s your Five Senses of a Walk Across Campus.


— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94

Categories: the daily deac

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