“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”

Finding silence has been difficult these past few weeks. Tests, papers, homework, and on-campus jobs threaten to take up all of my time, harming even the time I spend with family or friends. It becomes difficult to make time for anything, much less myself – naturally, it’s been hard to search for pockets of peace anywhere but in the immediate reaches of campus. Because of this, my suggestions for you this week are a little closer to home. 

Hammockers tend to take their positions near the Breeches, especially the section of trees crowded near the High Center. While it’s a great spot to sit, almost every time I make the trek down there, it’s too congested to set up a hammock or a blanket. This weekend I took some time to wander further down the trail, and I found two trees positioned perfectly for either a hammock or a picnic, depending on your preference. It was perfect to sit and clear my head, and introduced me to some different parts of campus that I wasn’t familiar with. I ended up walking on the road further down the Breeches, and found some other cool things – I’ll let you discover those for yourself. 

As the semester is ramping up, it’s not always practical to find time for long outdoor walks or hikes. It’s also starting to get colder, a very unfortunate development in the sitting-outside department. I’m learning as I progress through these next months to find the time for relaxation within myself, whether I’m in the Union, in Boyer, or outside in a hammock. It’s vital to intentionally make time to prioritize yourself and your mental health.

For me, this has looked a lot like listening to Sam Phillips, drinking the questionable Union coffee, and finding time to pleasure read. Whatever this looks like for you, I hope you can achieve it in some way – maybe take a friend down the Breeches to get homework done, or visit the bridge from last week to study for a test. Sometimes peaceful atmospheres make even the most stressful assignments seem less intimidating. 

I hope this week you find a pocket of peace somewhere on campus. Prioritize yourself, and find some stillness amid the noise and haste!

“Amid the Noise and Haste” is a column dedicated to re-centering, to re-focusing, on stillness and appreciation for nature during the craziness of the school year. Written by Emma Bane, this column will highlight a wide range of spots on and off campus that are perfectly suited to serenity and intentionality; places to go to think, read, paint, talk, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature. It aims to explore the wide variety of hidden gems found on Messiah’s campus and foster an environment of peace.