One night I went up Science Hill. I don’t even remember what I’d been doing to keep me up all night. After all these years, the details don’t matter. Anyway, it was almost dawn, and I decided to wait for sunrise over East Rock. Whatever had kept me up had made me passive and pensive, and I just sat under the tree and waited for the sun, thinking about something. And then it rose and brought me peace, at least for that day.
– Bruce Borchardt
Not a building, but a tree: A weeping birch on Science Hill above Kline Tower. I used to climb up and sit in it in the postdawn hours.
Could it still be there?
– Fred Karp
I fondly remember playing touch football on the Cross Campus in front of Sterling Library and between Berkeley College’s two courtyards (which were too small for football but perfect for some killer Frisbee.) Senior year, football was not an option, due to construction of an underground library. I remember a bunch of us going out to climb into the trees on the Cross Campus to save them from being removed by bulldozers prior to the beginning of construction. We eventually were assured that they would be replanted. The construction site was a good source of wood for my fireplace.
– Larry Wasser
Probably my favorite place at Yale is the Cross Campus in front of Sterling Library. The rectangles of grass, desolate in winter, that comes alive in the spring. A place of relaxation, of casual laughter and bright sunshine. A place where nearly everyone passes through, sometimes sits for a while alone or in groups, and usually smiles a lot. A place we almost lost when the bulldozers showed up to push down the trees for the underground library extension, and we sat in front of the bulldozers, and I gained new respect for Yale because we found out that the student voices mattered too.
– Carl Eifler
It might have been fall, early November. It might have been spring. The leaves were thick, heavy, healthy. I might have been a sophomore. I might have been a junior. It was late; I had returned from Sterling studying. The Silliman courtyard was empty, silent–no music from rooms, no laughter, no movement, not even an opening door, a closing door, nothing but me and a deeply settling fog. I sat on the wooden bench we frequented–the epicenter of what we had dubbed Bench City. I placed my books beside me and folded my hands in my lap.
The settling fog settled lower, deeper, thicker and oh, so slowly. A big tree, a widespreading tree–it might have been an elm, it might have been in the northeast corner–had become so mist-surrounded it was near abstraction.
Me, the tree, the fog, the oddly blessed silence.
I thought: I’m sitting in an English garden.
I had never felt, to that moment, so removed from the bleachy suburb in which I grew up, never so delighted with this new world I had come to, never so reposed, and, somehow, worldly and wise and kind-feeling and warmly strange and attached and swirly with delight.
– Bryan DiSalvatore
After graduation, half-way through first semester of teaching undergraduate music theory on a Carnegie Teaching Fellowship while taking composition lessons in the School of Music with master teacher Bulent Arel. Still not sure where my life is meant to go. Walking back to Stiles from class in Harkness. Look up at a tree on High Street, a little to the HGS side of the pathway to Stiles. Get sudden realization: you’re a composer. You’ve been one for a few months now. This is what you’re meant to do. Thank you, tree.
– Conrad Cummings