Monday, February 10, 2014


It is cold.

It is 3am, and once more I find myself, alone in a sea of sleeping lives, on Old Campus. It seems like my melancholy can only express itself in solitude, with no one watching, no one listening, no one judging. I walk, mind intensely aware of the sounds I make as my shoes trudge across the snow-laden ground.

Snow. Such a peculiar thing. It's hard for my mind to grasp that it is simply frozen rain. Hardened water. My tracks stop and I look up. The flakes even as they fall and caress my face, threaten to hurt my eyes. The snow even as it covers Yale with a blanket, threatens to smother it and choke it beyond recognition. 

Perhaps it is no coincidence that such beauty comes with such coldness.

I attempt to catch a tiny bit of that beauty but the little flakes disappear in the warmth of my hands. No matter. I reach into a pile of snow but feel nothing. The senses of the world seem not to have been made for protected hands. 

Without gloves, I clutch at the snow. The cold hurts. And quickly whatever beauty the cold held is melting away in my grasp. Trying to save it, tightening my grip only hurts myself and makes the moment even more evanescent. 

Protected, I cannot feel. And uncovered, I cannot bear the pain. True tragedy is perhaps not when a fate is inevitable, when there is no free will, but when there is a choice but all the choices can only lead to unfulfilled desires. The words of Hamlet spring to mind. "To be or not to be."

My hands are sore and numb.They can no longer feel, like they have been gloved over. Maybe this is my body's way of protecting myself, of telling me that to feel any more would be too unbearable. And so it shuts off. It withdraws. It feels no more. 

Abraham Pierson's statue is pelted with snowflakes. Some of them are dropping on his face, trickling down and melting as they touch him. I wonder what he weeps for. 

In the end, the snow is probably best observed from a distance. In the security and warmth of a heated room, wrapped up in a dozen layers, mind and body insulated from the elements. 

Yet it begs the question: Why then am I out here in the alabaster blindness of it all? Why reach out knowing full well the outcome? Why expose myself? 

Indoors, I feel the blood creeping back into my limbs. The frigidness is fading. My hands are there. My hands exist. My hands are alive. Not feeling them has allowed me to feel them anew. The warmth of the suite is inviting, welcoming, safe. 

And yet despite all the heat in the world, I cannot help but stare outside, beyond the window. 

And despite the dozen layers, despite the radiator before me, despite the hot coffee that runs through me...

It is cold. 

Photograph by Alexey Kljatov.  See more of his work on:

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