The other day I was eating lunch with a friend on Prez Lawn when suddenly a gust of wind picked up and plucked what seemed like thousands of leaves off the branches, sending sheets of little yellow leaves twirling down around us. It was a sign that autumn has arrived! I thought it was only appropriate that I should share some seasonal (and timeless) things that I’ve been loving lately.
Baking with Friends
My roommate and I had inadvertently hoarded a collection of browning bananas in our dorm room from various dining halls, and we decided the best plan of action was to make banana bread. Baking treats in college is truly a community effort; although we had purchased the essential ingredients, we were still missing a loaf pan, mixing bowls, and measuring cups -- things that you may have at home but often take for granted. Thankfully, after we posted a cry for help on social media, people enthusiastically volunteered supplies (thank you to Margaret for the pan and Salomi for the dishes!). Our beautiful bread was just as delicious as it looked, and all the more enjoyable to share with floormates and friends.
Inspired by the success of our first project, my roommate and I began collecting Granny Smith apples from Carm the following week for a Friday night apple crumble. Once again, our creation took a village to come to fruition -- a sharp kitchen knife, cinnamon, and various mixing bowls were all offered by generous residents in anticipation of the finished project. Nothing in the world has ever smelled as heavenly as the smells wafting out of our kitchen that night; the combination of fragrant apples, crunchy topping, and vanilla ice cream really hit the spot. Getting to share all that goodness with everyone felt super precious and it made me very happy.
For anyone who loves the introspective, heart-wrenching ballads of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker is right up your ally. I actually discovered her on an NPR Tiny Desk Concert in collaboration with Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, and her solo work is equally brilliant. Her songwriting is incredibly thoughtful and precise, and her singing makes even the most emotionally packed lyrics feel effortless and light. If I could use one word to describe the sound of her electric guitar playing, it would be iridescent; the texture of her music has a shimmering, rippling quality that is difficult to capture in words. As the weather starts to get cooler and the sun sets earlier, Julien Baker is the ideal artist to listen to for a cozy night in.
I’ve been playing her albums on repeat when I do homework (‘Funeral Pyre’ is my personal favorite single), but her music is also perfect for listening to with headphones on lying down in your bed, if you’re into that vibe.
Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith H. Basso
I read an excerpt of this piece for my Environmental Anthropology class, and it’s made me reflect on what it means to belong to a place and feel connected to it. Basso posits that “the self-conscious experience of place is inevitably a product… of the self whose experience it is, and therefore, unavoidably, the nature of that experience… is shaped at every turn by the personal and social biography of the one who sustains it”. I couldn’t help but wonder how my understanding of place in college might vary from my peers based on our unique narratives, and if I would ever have a true understanding of what “belonging” on Tufts campus might feel like--or anywhere else, for that matter.
During lecture, my professor suggested that the only way to really know a place is to leave it. It’s a bittersweet take, perhaps, but there’s certainly truth in that perspective. I’ve grown to appreciate the quirks of my hometown more during my recent stay away from there, and I can look back sentimentally on the spots that I’ve dwelled in with loved ones. My time at Tufts is only starting, but I’m hoping that being mindful of Basso’s words will lead me to form a more conscious sense of place in this space.