Monday, April 23, 2007

What a SUUSI fan cannot forget in Blacksburg

I am a SUUSI fan. In a previous post I noted that SUUSI, the second largest annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists in the world, is held at Virginia Tech. SUUSI is a big week for my family and friends. I look forward to it all year. Until now.

There were many difficult moments during my stay in Blacksburg, but one of the hardest was on the drill field. SUUSI people know that we have our wonderful multi-generational opening circle on the drill field. For me it is the moment I step from regular life into the SUUSI world. It is a happy and anticipated moment. But I was on the drill field last week, for awful reasons.

The above picture is taken on the drill field which is now covered in something that looks like snow remnants. It's candle wax and it is everywhere. I was not at the candlelight vigil, but I've seen the pictures, as I'm sure you have. Thousands of candles in paper cups. The drill field was spotlessly clean when I was there, but for the wax. Every few steps there is another pile which has soaked into the ground. If you could see sorrow in a field, it must look like spilled candle wax.

The picture below is of the tents covering the boards with the written memorials on them. There are dozens. They stand in the very spot of opening circle.

I cannot begin to imagine what life as a student is like right now. I cannot imagine trying to be a professor and teach. Most of all, I think walking around a beloved campus that has been drastically changed must be surreal. When it isn't horrifying. Or just confusing.

Virginia Tech is not my alma mater. Blacksburg is not my home. But for the past decade it has been my favorite place on earth for one week every summer. For the first time ever, going to SUUSI will be very very hard.


mark said...

This SUUSI will indeed be intense. I too love SUUSI and appreciate every aspect of change and enlightenment that the community has given me. I too am also deeply saddened and distraught by the recent events at VT. Your description of the drill field is very poignant and touching and I thank you for your heart felt words.
I believe SUUSI can instill magical powers of healing and love in it's attendees open to these effects. And I believe that SUUSI can help reaffirm the value of life for everyone involved or even slightly connected to our community members. I know that the SUUSI leadership is already in motion developing ways we can help, support and show our solidarity with VT at this critical time. And as a proud member of the SUUSI community, I am ready to do my part to aid the VT community and those who's suffering is unimaginable to me.

With the love and respect everyone deserves,
Mark Weathers, YA Director
SUUSI 2007 ~ "To Live Fully"
Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute
July 15-21, 2007 ~ Blacksburg, VA

Every 7th Day said...

Yay. I had hoped that the title of the post would bring a little of that SUUSI love. Thank you, Mark.

I must say that I felt better after writing the post. Sometimes saying the unsayable releases what needs to leave. Thank you for your affirmation.

And don't get me wrong, will be registering in the next week along with my crew of 9 this year.

Lizard Eater said...

I love knowing that there will be a bunch of UU energy being infused into the land there this summer.

By the way, you've been nominated for a "Thinking Blog."

Mile High Pixie said...

Wow! What a tough time for you all. I wish you all peace and healing in this time.

(and if it helps any, your advice is bringing my houseplant back from the brink.)