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9th Floor.

 Bartle Library

Bartle Library, Binghamton University, New York

 

The screams of the students are now being drowned out by the rush of air trying to escape from beneath the plummeting elevator.

 

The air is screaming to get into every crack and pore in the elevator cabin. I can feel the pressure on my ears. It is not painful, it is just present.

 

The good times, friends, fishing, hunting, poker games – – – they all return.

 

The rejoining of friends who have separated for a few hours on the Chateaugay River – – – and the fibs they tell each other.

 

The cold lunches eaten from a brown paper bag in the woods, the hot coffee steaming in the plastic cup that doubled as a lid for the Thermos bottle.

 

The owl who sat in the branches watching you as you watched him. Who would blink first?

 

That brown bear who flew right past you – – – his hind legs between and in front of his fore legs as he scrambled for safety.

 

The chickadee that leaped from branch to twig and finally sat on the end of your gun – – – as if to say “We are both interesting to watch and both too kind to hurt each other – – – aren’t we?”

 

The old log that you used for a thinking spot on those fall days when you escaped from work – – – to think about work – – – that log which held so many solutions and answers.

 

The oak leaf that fluttered slowly from somewhere up high, and landed somewhere down below; that leaf who told you that your thinking was done and now it was time to go home to you family.

 

The couples, family friends, who joined together for good times – – – good poker games where laughter and teasing formed an unbreakable bond between people who were each quite different, who cooked their suppers together over charcoal and ate together – – – reinforcing those bonds.

 

TOMORROW:  8th Floor

 

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