Riverside sunset
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Me and my friend Rebecca hiking on Gile Tower!

Whenever things were tough back at home, I always made my way to the local river. It didn't matter if it was a hot, scorching day in the middle of August, or a wet winter evening; There was something so tranquil about listening to the river flow, watching the toads hop into the bushes, and feeling the breeze waft up my hair. It was so simple. As life gets more complex, you forget to save those moments for yourself, and you certainly forget how beneficial they are. As a country boy, I was always immersed in nature, and I think I began taking that for granted before I left for college. Now that I'm in the Upper Valley, fall foliage is an obvious reminder of the beauty that always surrounds us, and it makes me think of the cotton harvest back at home – how simple yet marvelous nature can be.

Beautiful fall foliage picture on Gile Tower
I mean, just look at this... It's pure art!

Mid-October is the peak season for fall allergies, midterms, papers, and problem sets. It's easy to get bogged down in the workload of a college student. However, Dartmouth has helped me put many of my problems put into perspective. Whenever I find myself struggling over a homework problem, stressing about a paper, or worrying about an exam grade, I take a moment to stand on the Dartmouth Green and look around. I see the sky lit a beautiful orange as the sun sits gracefully to the west. I see the shine of Dartmouth Hall as the sky darkens to the east. I look to my north at Baker-Berry Library in all of its glory. I also pause and take a moment to recognize the colors of the trees, the moon as it shines brighter and brighter, and the sun as it says goodnight just above the horizon. Then, I remember that it's the same sun and moon people see all over the world – the same sun and moon that my brother and sister see. It gives me a sense of peace knowing how small my puzzle piece is that fits into our world.

Me climbing down Gile Tower
If I've ever had a genuine smile in a photo... this is it!

I constantly think back to my days on the farm in high school. I remember how tired I used to be after coming home with dirt under my fingernails and smelling like rotten watermelons. I remember the people I worked with and how they still work there – the job they maintain to support their families. Now I find myself with my meals paid for, kicking my feet up as I study for a physics exam, and stressing over an upcoming speech I need to write. I italicize "stress" because, when I look back at all the things I've done, it doesn't really seem like these are things I should stress over. They are important parts of my life now, sure, but this helps me keep things in perspective. The things I stress about now versus the things I used to worry about are two totally different worlds, and I remind myself of that every now and again to keep a realistic perspective on life. Every time I stop to look at the trees, feel the breeze, and appreciate the nature around me, I'm brought back to that riverside.

Beautiful yellow and red leaf
I couldn't let you "leaf" without showing you this picture ;)

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