White, November 2014

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One of the cool things about St. Edwards is that there are so many students who come from all over the world, so everyone has very different experiences and tolerations when it comes to weather. The not-so-cool thing is that the people who come from the colder parts of the world like to make fun of us warm-blooded Texans, since we like to dress like eskimos the weather drops below 60. I love cold weather, but not when I’m outside without at least some sweatpants and a warm blanket.

Luckily, there were  few days where the weather wasn’t all that bad, and one of these days I couldn’t keep my eyes off the trees. There was something about the way the light was hitting them and how perfect and still they were. I was wandering campus for at least an hour with my head up in the trees.

The panoramic photo shown at the top of this blog is of the Sorin Oak Tree, one of the biggest, most beautiful trees you’ll see on campus. It’s an icon here in the St. Edwards community, and probably one of the most difficult to capture because of its magnificent size. It’s estimated to be 250–300 years old, and stands a whooping 43 feet tall. Walking under Sorin Oak feels like walking under a giant umbrella. I would sit there all day if the benches were more comfortable… I’m actually considering bringing a tailgate chair out there just to have a more relaxing spot.

Walking around campus I realized that I never really took time to stop and look up. Pictures don’t do the trees justice, but I tried my best to capture the moments where the sunlight fled through the vibrant, green leaves.

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(The tree on the left below I found near Trustee Hall, the the tree to the right below is found in the area between the bookstore and main building.)

The more I explored, the more I felt so small and insignificant. We see trees every day but we don’t comprehend their magnitude. They’re so big and bold. Strong and rooted. They stand tall through the harshest of storms, coldest of winters, and driest of summers. Each is so uniquely and intricately crafted by the hands of God.

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(The trees on the left I found between the bookstore and main building, and the tree on the right was found in front of holy cross hall.)

This last picture is my absolute favorite one. The sun beams through and accentuates the branches, revealing their vein-like design, pulsating life throughout the glowing leaves. The first word that comes to mind when I see this photograph is life, and that’s what these trees bring.

IMG_0144(I found this tree near the parking lot of the new recreation center.)

I’m not sure what kind of the trees these are, but I read that live oaks, cedar elms, and southern red (or spanish) trees are the most common native trees found in the Austin area. I also read that UT’s campus is home to 31 different types of trees, so I imagine that there’s a variety found on our campus too. I had trouble finding a source that would tell me what types St. Eds has, so maybe one day someone can look in to that!

Side story:
While I was taking a panoramic photo, this little guy startled me. I had seen many stray cats wandering around campus, but I had never had one approach me. He (or she) decided to climb in my lap in the middle of my photo (which scared the crap out of me) and, like most cats, just wanted some attention. So I let him have his photo op, but unfortunately I’m very allergic to cats so I had to head back to my dorm and change right after. It made me wander where the cats go when it’s cold, and if they ever get stuck in the trees on campus.

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“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.” –Aldo Leopold, A Sandy County Almanac

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