Let the Heart Hold Memory Bright
by Emma Greenberg ’05
- The smells, the seasons, the tears, the stress, the smiles, the hugs, the three a.m. conversations, begin to mesh into an endless scrapbook of memories.
I crunch across the ice-coated snow under the arching branches of bare, twig-like trees lining the path to “Shipping and Receiving.” The leather laces on my Bean boots come untied and swing around my bare ankles—cold, hard and wet. As I skip down the hard, barren flight of stairs to pick up my package, I’m smiling and thinking to myself—as I stare at my wet boots and splashed, salt-stained cuffs of my pumpkin-colored corduroys—”I’ll remember every detail of this moment forever.” I’m probably thinking more poetically than usual, having just come from seventh period sophomore English with Ms. Hannay. But I’m right—this seemingly insignificant, couple of seconds in a frosty, burnt-coffee-smelling, cement stairwell, will stand out as a common, Deerfield memory—just like all the rest.
Reflecting on my three years here, my days have been characterized by so much more than classes, sports, homework, and the green quads that I looked forward to on my first day sophomore year. I have learned more in the classroom than I could ever have dreamed. I have figured out by this point that even though I’m not athletic, there is a place for me on an athletic team (I’m a coxswain on the crew team). I have spent hours in the library and have laughed and sunbathed on the lush grass of the quads.
But I wonder what I will really remember of my “Deerfield Days of Glory” in 20 years. Sometimes I try to categorize in seasons, but, the seasons only matter because of the people. People-watching was my favorite activity fall of my junior year, and still is. Some days, in the late afternoon, I would just sit at one of the dark green, metal picnic tables with the little benches attached on the quad outside the dining hall until someone would come and sit beside me and watch with me, while we smiled and talked. Senior winter was filled with tension, and then sudden relief after the dreaded college process finally came to an end—or really, to a beginning. Sophomore spring evokes the smell of wet pavement and grass and lilacs after a misty spring rain—the smell of falling in love, and laughing. But the smells, the seasons, the tears, the stress, the smiles, the hugs, the three a.m. conversations, begin to mesh into an endless scrapbook of memories.
At the end of May of my senior year, each moment begins to look like a memory, and I search for a way to make the most of my last days at a place that I have come to call home. I don’t know what part I will remember most vividly. I don’t know what my life will look like once I have left here. But I know that Deerfield is now in my blood—that this place and the people here have shaped me and helped me become who I am. Perhaps that sounds cliché, but the thing about clichés is that they would not have ever become clichés if they weren’t usually true.
Each time I hear a Bruce Springsteen song, eat a chicken cutlet, glance down at the adventure-produced scar on the inside of my leg, or meet someone new, I will forever be reminded of my time at Deerfield and the people I met there, whom I have come to call my family.