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.