Posts tagged fall break
My 2013 fall break might be best described as “surreal.”
Surprisingly, that’s not (entirely) because I can’t believe that it was my last, but rather because of the freakishly summery weather that accompanied said “fall” break. With this past weekend’s temps hitting the mid-70s, I actually think it was warmer in Ithaca than back home in Volcano: and it’s October!
Since going home for a four day weekend is always out of the question for me, though, I did appreciate the balminess: it gave me a few beautiful days to visit some of Ithaca’s most autumnal attractions. Catching some quick glimpses of fall colors helped me forget that I was stuck in the middle of the summer that wouldn’t die (even as I overheated in my jacket and riding boots).
Before I graduate, I intend to visit every easily accessible waterfall in Ithaca. I’ve already crossed Taughannock off that list, so the logical next step was Robert Treman Park.
(Luckily enough, Treman is a state park, or I wouldn’t have had much of an adventure at all. Thanks a lot, government shutdown. )
Treman Park is home to Lucifer Falls, a waterfall that drops from a height of more one hundred feet above the gorge. During my visit, I naturally couldn’t get Pink Floyd’s Lucifer Sam out of my head, but in retrospect, I’m finding Chopin’s Nocturne in C Minor a little more fitting. Don’t the trills and triads remind you of a multi-tiered waterfall?
(Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is also a pretty nice Lucifer Falls piece.)
What makes the water here such a deep teal? The river inside the gorge was the same color as the rushing currents of Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa. I guess I really can’t leave Scotland behind, no matter where I am.
The walk from the park’s upper entrance to the falls and back was a little under a mile, I’d wager–but the frequent sets of steep stairs made the journey a bit more challenging.
The sequel to our falls adventure began with (second) breakfast at Waffle Frolic in. If you haven’t visited the Commons in a while (like me!), you’re in for a surprise–most of it is under construction.
Because this is Ithaca, though, the barriers around the construction have been transformed into a massive public art project, and its many murals include the charmingly rustic map of Middle-Earth we found across the street from the Seneca bus stop.
After an ample amount of both waffles and frolicking, we headed down Rt. 13 to the Ithaca Sound Maze, a corn maze stocked with a good handful of homemade instruments for visitors to play.
Since I’ve never visited a corn maze before (a pineapple maze is the best we can do in Hawai’i), I didn’t expect to be so excited by the novelty of wandering around and getting lost in a homegrown labyrinth. It was hard to not follow the example of the toddlers who ran frantically around each bend, laughing and leaving their slow parents to get lost somewhere among the ears.
The curious instruments, however, are what really make the Sound Maze an utterly fantastic day out. There are pots tuned to major triads to bang on, giant plastic buckets stacked together to form a wall of drums, and strange musical contraptions built out of bicycle wheels and a rainbow plastic tubes: all in all, definitely worth more than the $5 entrance fee.
Maybe I can satisfy my music-loving heart by opening my own maze somewhere across the country after I graduate?
(But a maze themed around vocalization instead of physical instruments, perhaps? So many possibilities!)
First off, let me make it very clear that I do not support and am in no way affiliated with the original “161 Things To Do At Cornell” list: there are a good many items on there that I’ll never complete (which is probably good for my health, safety and grades). (I also like to blame no. 98, “Drink bubble tea,” for the long lines at Ezra’s Emporium.)
If I were to write a revised version, however, I would include:
No. 42: Keep the international students and West Coasters company during fall break.
Because it’s difficult to get back to Hawai’i just for a long weekend, this marks the second fall break I’ve spent in Ithaca. Although it’s pretty heartrending to watch as those around me are whisked off to a few days of family time, home-cooked meals and showering without slippers, I honestly enjoy having the chance to spend time on campus without so many people around. Following is a compilation of various exciting activities* available to Cornellians forced to remain in a distant land (far from the homes they love).**
*Please be aware that there are not nearly 161 of them (in fact, there are exactly four). I try.
(**If you understand this reference, I adore you.)
I. Get your life back on track.
In Prelim World (which conveniently comes right before the break) it’s easy for those trifles like sleep, eating and basic housekeeping to fall by the wayside. Having a few days’ rest is a great opportunity to get that laundry done, catch up on all the reading you skipped because you were studying for another class or readjust your room’s feng shui.
II. Make your own Cornell Cinema.
Cornell Cinema was at its finest this past quarter–the flicksheet included everything from movies I’d wanted to see but wasn’t keen on paying top dollar for (e.g. Super 8) to classics such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Tragically, those pesky things called “classes” kept me from attending any of them!
It would be perfect if Cornell Cinema were open for fall break, but it seems like those movie masters wanted a little time off themselves (and I certainly don’t blame them). Thanks to the magic of Olin Library’s media collection, however, I can fashion my own world of foreign films and sci-fi wonders right in my bedroom.
III. Study on the Slope.
My California friend and fall break companion very cleverly referred to our mini-vacation as “study catch-up period 1,” and she’s not exaggerating: I have two prelims, a 12-page short story and some other fun sundries waiting for me next week. Although this means I can’t spend as much time playing guitar or chilling with Mulder and Scully as I’d like, there are ways to enjoy fall break prelim preparation! On sunny days, the Slope is normally covered with tanning gals (and guys, for that matter) and giant packs of people sitting together. Since most of these folks are gone now, I’ve been able to spend many more hours sprawled in the grass than I normally would, which certainly makes reviewing Old Norse noun declensions a little more appealing.
IV. Check out the fall colors and take a million pictures.
Note: if you do not succeed at snapping exactly one million photos, I won’t judge. 999,999 or 999,998 is, in my opinion, equally sufficient.
The afore-mentioned friend admitted yesterday that she’d never walked the Beebe Lake trail. Since running laps there kept me from the Freshman Fifteen in my pre-zumba days, I insisted that she experience its beauty as soon as possible. (Fun fact for the technologically-challenged: if you click on the pictures, they’ll get bigger so you can see the colors better!)
The Mainland has such bizarre creatures. I’ve discovered that there’s a veritable menagerie of mysterious beasties to be found in East Coast natural areas (like this fuzzy dude, who looks as though he escaped from my X-Files DVD).
After our walk, we were ravenous (probably because of that super-appetizing woolly bear) and decided to trek down to West Campus for dinner. Normally, all the dining halls are closed during fall break, but one remained open this year for students who wished to use Big Red Bucks to purchase (ridiculously expensive) meals.
I’m seriously obsessed with West Campus. If I had a magical dragon friend willing to fly me to the top of the Slope during the winter, I would totally live in Cook House or something. My favorite part of West Campus is its Gothic architecture, so I thought this sign was the most hilarious thing ever.
And I still have a day and a half left before classes begin again!