Posts in: Block Break

Adventures in Zion: The Ultimate Spring (Block) Break

There are many things I love about Colorado College, and Block Breaks are one. Opportunity knocks not just once but 5 times throughout the year for you and your pals to gallivant around the land for four days. If this isn’t neat enough, CC students also get Winter Break and Spring Break. I have always taken advantage of my Spring Breaks to spend time with my family. This Spring Break, we traveled 12 hours to Zion National Park, in Utah. I was, at first, mildly astonished at the popularity of Zion amongst my CC peers! At least three different groups of friends traveled to Zion at one point over Spring Break. But, as we drove into the park, my astonishment faded into appreciation for the majestic beauty of Zion, and understanding of why Zion was such a sought after location.

Majestic: that is the best way to describe Zion National Park. The towering canyon walls, perfect in their imperfectness, made your body fill with awe for the ability of nature to create beauty. The small Virgin River meandering through the canyon inspired you – this little river had, through the years, dug down, down, down through rock.

The first day, we armed ourselves with neoprene clothing and a walking stick, and attacked the Narrows. The Narrows is not a typical hike, rather, hikers literally walk through the water. As I walk through strong currents and over slippery rocks, I occasionally raise my head and look above me at the never-ending rock walls. There is less sky than I am used to, the canyon walls dominate my view. Biking consumed the second day in this wonderland. We biked through the suburbs of St. George, and through the desert in the scorching heat. I was amazed at the difference in landscape between St. George and Zion. So different, yet similar in beauty.

On the morning of the third day, we dined on a hearty breakfast and began our hike to Angel’s Landing. This hike is only 2.5 miles one way, yet has an elevation gain of 1500 feet. The hike was not dissimilar to a slightly drawn out version of the familiar jaunt up the Incline. Hiking through 27 switchbacks called “Walter’s Wiggles,” we arrived at the top. Half of our party continued up 0.6 miles among sheer cliff paths to the final endpoint of the hike. I, along with my mother, elected to stay back and take in the views. Having exhausted the activities that Zion had to offer, horseback riding presented an intriguing alternative to physical exertion.

On the last day of the journey, we awoke at 6:00am to travel through tunnels to arrive at a location which overlooked 2/3 of the canyon. We watched the sun rise color the rocks with a beautiful show of lights. Then we drove home.

As I sit here, typing away, at my carrel in Tutt, I am filled with the same awe and appreciation I felt looking at the canyon walls for the first time. My heart learned how to sing the song of Zion National Park, and I will be forever graced with its music.

What To Do When You’re Home for Spring Break.

  • Cuddle with your dog. Wonder how you’ll ever leave your dog again.
  • Be shocked by the humidity and warmth of your homeland. 85 degrees? Ocean breeze? Miss your dry, cold bipolar Colorado but secretly also twirl as moisture returns to your parched winter skin.
  • See old friends. Hug old friends. Get sushi with old friends. Say goodbye again to old friends.
  • Spend time with your family. Go in the hot tub with your family. Make dinner for your family. Try not to be irritated with your family. Relax, you’re with your family.
  • Suddenly realize it’s March of your junior year. Freak out. Waste hours researching graduate programs (for the 55th time) and make lists and attempt to study for the GRE but ultimately end up on the living room floor staring at your dog because it’s spring break and the semester has been a tad intense and you just need to chill out for a few minutes.
  • Take aforementioned dog on as many hikes as possible. Remember the sunscreen. Run. Feel like a warrior with your new super strength lung capacity. Bless the Colorado mountains for the gym-free training.
  • Try to sleep in. Your body needs it. Fail at sleeping in. The one time you do sleep in feel guilt for wasting precious hours. Drink as much coffee as you do at school.
  • Obnoxiously check your CC banner twelve times a day to see if your Block 6 grade has been posted. It hasn’t, and you know it won’t be until Block 7 is deep. Still, you’ll check every day. That’s OK. You’re only human.
  • Attempt to get serious work done on your Writing Center tutor training research paper. Succeed in this attempt but still feel as if the revision will never, ever end. Read another book on the joys of teaching writing. Make more notes. Keep digging.
  • Help your mom in the garden. It’s 75 degrees in California. It’s 19 degrees and snowing in Colorado. Enjoy the warmth. Enjoy your childhood home.
  • Wake up at 5:30 to drive to Hollywood for a very silly movie/book signing event that you’re too ashamed to mention online by name.
    The 5.
  • Download Tinder. Laugh. Laugh some more.
  • Bake cookies and brownies and bread.
  • Start missing Colorado. Start missing campus, the sprint of the CC life, and eagerly wait for reality to resume its exhaustive tendencies.
  • Hug your dog some more.
  • Adore every day and night.
    Orange County.

My Limp to Block 5’s End.

I know I’m really sick when I can’t fathom the idea of consuming coffee.

I became really sick last Monday. Last Monday of the block. 4th Week Monday. Monday of doom. The Monday of all Mondays in which one would most desperately turn to coffee, in which being sick is a devastation of great proportions.

And I was sick, sick, sick. Though I initially didn’t feel sick. Just dizzy. Just repulsed by coffee when I so desperately wanted coffee. Just horrendously achy and spin-y. But I still went to class. I still scrambled around campus. I still studied. I still somehow went to ballet. (Do I remember Monday’s ballet class? No. Did I go? Yes.) I still sprinted, because it was 4th Week and one doesn’t stop for anything during 4th Week. And come 4th Week Tuesday, when I was dizzier and achier but yet somehow still unaware of what was happening internally, I still participated in my last class of the block. Still recited “Neither Out Far, Nor in Deep” by Robert Frost (though the recitation happened from my seat with my eyes partially closed as by Tuesday morning my dizziness was severe enough for me to suspect passing out a threat). Still studied and studied and studied (coffee free!) for my final exam and even took an hour break for fresh air and drove through the snow-studded Garden of the Gods then came home and studied some more and packed for Block Break and went to bed, all the while dizzy, all the while refusing to admit that my guzzling Emergen-C by the hour was my bowing down to my impending doom.

It didn’t matter whether or not I acknowledged my body’s revolt. It was too late. The illness had already sunk in deep. And when I woke Wednesday–Wednesday of 4th Week, Wednesday morning of my final exam, last day of Block 5, that So Very Very VERY important Wednesday–it was difficult to even lift my head from my pillow, let alone pull myself out of bed and take a five hour poetry exam. Have you ever had a sinus surgery? I’ve had five in my twenty-one years of life. And Wednesday morning I woke feeling as I do after the anesthesia wears off and I blink to a bright white room and some tower of a man looming over me, booming into my tender ears, “The procedure was a success, Miss Ezell, how do you feel? Do you feel great? You did great! How do you feel?”

How do I feel? How do I feel? How do I feel? I feel like you should give me some more of that magical sleep medicine so I can dream off this excruciating pain drilling through my face, that’s how I feel, Mr. All in White Medical Dude.

And it was Wednesday that I last felt this way (so, no, FYI, sinus surgeries don’t seem to do much good long term wise), and I had a class to finish and an evening plane from Denver to Salt Lake City to catch. So, I flopped out of bed and, little by little, did what I needed to do. Did my best and forgot the rest (my father is a fan of P90X and likes to drill that little mantra into my head during borderline panic attacks). I gave that exam everything I had, zipped up my bag, and–sorry fellow passengers of Flight 0282–trekked onto that airplane equipped with tissues and numbing ear drops.

So, Block 5 is behind me, completed with a somewhat painful limp of a bang. And now, for the first time since last Sunday, I’m drinking a mug of coffee. Enjoying my coffee in Park City with my family. I slept and soaked in baths and was a frightful mess the last few days, but slowly I’m regaining strength. And isn’t that the point of Block Breaks? Have a blast, relax, catch up, and prepare for the next race? Hinduism begins Monday, and though I’m still admittedly weak and shaky, it’d be a lie to say I’m not pumped. It’s like a whole new way of life awaits. And, honestly, though the First Day of the Block Feeling spins in eight times a year (or twelve, if you’re like me and take advantage of Summer Session and Half Block), such glee never gets old.

Half Blockin’

Off the cuff:

Winter break was good. Really good. I needed that. I did a lot of…sitting. Yes, yes, quite a bit of sitting. But lest the sedentary lifestyle infect me for good, I jetted back to Colorado where the people are active and the air is thin. And now, I suppose, I am a second semester senior. Yikes. The yikes comes from the anxiety of uncertainty about what I’ll be doing next year, not so much from the idea of graduating. Because as much as past seniors would get angry about that “g” word and scowl at any question of post-graduate plans, I think that when the time finally comes I will be ready for it. CC has prepared me well in general, and I think the block plan specifically is great prep-work for being thrown rather forcefully into a new subject matter/activity schedule and having to go with it and excel in it. (The flaw in that argument, of course, is that any job I have will–hopefully–last much longer than three and a half weeks. But anyway…I’m good at working under pressure after these four years.)

Now it is half block, and I am not taking a class but should theoretically be reading literature related to my thesis. Finally, the culmination of all my sociology classes. My own scholarly creation. It’s very exciting. For now it’s mainly just ambiguous anticipation, but it’s a nice positive feeling of hope for all that it could be.

This post was off the cuff because clearly I’m not in a block right now, so a block blog doesn’t make much sense. But I still needed to turn in a timesheet, so I decided to use 15 minutes to create this post for your reading pleasure. Post-block, but hopefully still intriguing. Happy half block!