Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You are now leaving the Cynicism Zone

"So what you've been doing," said my puzzled colleague, "is walking around the woods looking at flowers?"

"And birds," I said.

"And birds," he said. "Walking around the woods looking at flowers and birds. Must be exciting!"

Red trillium
But I knew by the way he said it that he meant exactly the opposite. We were, after all, on campus, inside the Cynicism Zone, where every attempt at pure unadulterated enthusiasm is sneered upon, where the enjoyment of beauty is considered an insidious disease that must be starved to death lest it spread.

Trillions of trilliums
Fortunately, the woods are posted with "No Cynicism" signs. I can walk there alone or in company and unashamedly exult over the presence of mayapples or woodpeckers, saying things like, "Ooh! Trilliums!" without any need for ironic air-quotes.

Birds and wildflowers don't bow down in awe at academic degrees or pedagogical jargon or plum committee assignments, nor do they reward cynicism and ruthlessness with rapid advancement. They simply sit there making me happy, and you never see them sneering at the prospect of of simple happiness.

One of these days someone will figure out how to extend the No Cynicism Zone to embrace campus, but until that happens, I'll keep on walking around the woods looking at flowers and birds.


LJB said...

Many years ago I lived in a little house on the edge of some woods in Parma, OH. Later moved to Elyria. I've been out west for nearly two decades now, but your photos brought back some very sweet memories of when I used to go wondering through Ohio woods.

Glad no one was hurt in your recent event!

Bev said...

Thanks! It's a joy getting to know and share the hidden treasures of our woods.