When I listen to Wednesdays...

Greetings Friends!  How's the new year treating you?  I have to say I'm pretty happy with it so far, and I hope you are too!

Let's get to it... when I listen to "Old Pine" by Ben Howard I am instantly filled with warmness and goodness and all the things that I love about Boulder.  I was pretty obsessed with the album Every Kingdom over the summer of 2012 and I think it was on rotation in my Volvo station wagon pretty much non stop... but for some reason driving on this one road always comes to mind.  I don't know the name of the road but it runs on the side of Boulder HS, over the creek, and turns into a big hill.  There is a campus parking lot off the side of that road right there by Macky Auditorium.  I used to use that lot that summer when I would be trekking over from East Campus to go to my class: Revolution and Nationalism in Modern Ireland.  I was taking the class for fun (a benefit of being an employee of CU) and it met every day for a month over the summer.

I remember making the walk from Macky to Hellem's across that stretch of sidewalk that goes through the quad in front of the library (which has an engraved quote above the entrance that faces the quad saying, "Who knows only his own generation remains always a child", I always loved that... especially since I was on my way to a history course).  Campus was always dead because it was summer and the class met from 4:30-6:30; after some of the craziness of the famous bear being shot out of the tree and mountain lions being on campus I remember wondering what in the world I would do if I came across one of these creatures by myself.  It was a hot summer and when I'd get to the classroom it was always stuffy, but our class had a routine... we turned on the ceiling fans, opened windows, and opened the door and it always seemed to help.  Inevitably as Colorado summers do, it always seemed to start raining in the middle of class, cooling everything off.  As class would get out, I'd walk the way I came... pushing that big Hellem's door open to see the beautiful Macky Auditorium straight ahead of me.

  (The doors I would use to get into Hellem's.  I love Hellem's because it is where the History department is housed and every time I go through those doors, I love knowing that I'm going to be going back in time for a little while.)

(The stretch between Hellem's and Macky.  This picture must have been taken before or after the Shakespeare Festival that CU hosts every year because I also remember that sidewalk being lined with banners for the plays that would be featured that year.) 

(Kind of random... but this is my favorite tree on campus and it just happens to be on that walk that I would take every day.  I thought I would include it here since Ben's song is very nature-y.)

Boulder summers are one of my favorite things.  I love meeting up for cool drinks after work, dipping my feet in the creek, I love the break from the students.  And God, I love the sunsets.  That summer I still lived in Superior and there were times after going to class, and then going to dinner/drinks that by the time I would be taking 36 out of Boulder towards McCaslin, I could look in my rearview mirror and see the sun sinking behind the Flatirons, and I swear it took my breathe away every time.

So... when I hear Ben Howard's album start with that gentle picking and strumming of a guitar and the singing that sounds like a lullaby I am transported to those lazy days of summer and I remember why I wanted to work at CU so badly.  I think of sunflowers blooming on the side of the highway, I think of people riding inner tubes down the creek, I think of the start of school and the Pearl Street Stampede.

While the song itself seems to be about Ben and his friends camping in the summertime there are some great lines, that just really embody all that is awesome about summer.  If you have never listened to Ben Howard, I highly recommend downloading the whole album... I don't think you will regret it.  Ben is England's answer to our Jack Johnson (before he made 10 albums that sound just like the last one).  Ben's just a surfer dude with his guitar and I love him.  :-)