The Ocher Seive

A return to fond memories

This is a post about returning to well-loved places and reconnecting. I traveled to Bloomington, Indiana last week for a family wedding and I found some time to grab a snap or two around campus. The leaves were turning and the Gothic facades of campus were framed by reds and oranges.

Beck Chapel, Indiana University, Bloomington

Nestled against the furthest western end of the Eastern Time Zone, I found myself with plenty of time to sleep in and still catch good light. I was staying at the Union, which straddles a brook and groves of poplars and beech trees. Just outside of the Union, the lights inside the Beck Chapel were burning brightly and, surrounded as it was by an old graveyard and dressed in October colors, I couldn't resist focusing on this little gem.

Indiana was the childhood home of my parents and I have fond remembrances of my grandparents' home, built of thin, stalwart Indiana limestone blocks like those that form the Beck Chapel. The air was still and the silence broken only by babbling of the water, decorated with beech leaves just like the slate roof of the Chapel.

Beck Chapel, Indiana University, Bloomington

Soon the Beck Chapel will exchange her beech leaf gown for a robe of silver winter snows. Living in California, I miss that costume change and long to be here when the air is still and the silence only broken by the crunch of newly fallen snow underfoot. My wife earned her Master's degree here some years back and often we walked through campus when all the leaves had turned, haunted coffee shops and talked about what the future would hold. This past weekend was, in some ways, the future, and coming back was bittersweet and a great chance to consider what has become and what will be.

The Spreading Boughs of Autumn, Indiana University, Bloomington

I wandered the southern end of campus with my parents who graduated from IU almost 40 years ago. We found spots well-remembered and much loved and others more mysterious, hidden behind rolling hills and low limestone walls.

Evil Spirits Cannot Enter an Inhabited House Unless Invited, Indiana University, Bloomington

The limestone, gargoyles and trees reminded me a bit of the University of Chicago campus, a little less grand, less gritty, but more bucolic. I didn't take many photographs, just enough to reconnect, enjoy myself, and think, "When next will I be lucky enough to come back?"

Beck Chapel, Indiana University, Bloomington