unexpected treasure

Tucked away in tree branches, just high enough to strike an unsuspecting human in the forehead — the curve of ridged yellow glass, strung up between red buds blooming in the lower branches, swaying with every strong gust of wind. I lay on concrete below, safe, watching the charm above as it shudders, and it’s all foreground-midground-background from right here, a book balanced in too-weak arms to block the sun, then my leg kicked up over a knee, finally settling into the distant sight of bees dipping in and out of the rash of blooms in the tree. This position is great for cloud-watching, but painful to read in, so I roll over, sun my back instead, play the lizard for a few minutes and doze, stretch my toes out from shadow into a ray of light. Turning my head, the refracted sunlight astonishes the ground, astonishes me, as above the charm slowly spins, leaving a pinwheel of yellow on the dirt not three inches from my right hand. #weeklyassignment #sunbathing #spring

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coffee creates drama where there is none

'Caffeine is life' seems to be the modern college kid motto. Having come from a coffee-loving family, Ashley was already accustomed to a daily cup by the time she started college. As a film major, caffeine became an essential part of her routine, drinking up to six cups a day, two of would include an espresso shot. “It came to the point where I couldn’t function without caffeine in my system,” she explains. “I automatically got… withdrawals if I didn’t have caffeine.” Since then, Ashley has cut back, now drinking only two cups of coffee a day, three at the most. This is a cautionary tale that every coffee fiend may one day live out, despite our certainty that surely, it can never happen to us. #thatcoffeelife #aka #themodernlifeofacollegestudent #weeklyassignment

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i am not a hobbit, but adventure found me

I am the lurking one, the locked-outside-in-the-cold one, the bundled up she-yeti peering in through the windows of Tishman Hall. Adventure was my goal, but I’ve never been able to pass up an opportunity to gawk at art. The last forty-eight hours of sunshine have been disappointing, but if this last-minute snowfall is the prize for waiting, I can forgive the weathermen. Snow melts and clings to my boots, soaking through the leather, hardening my feet into heavy, painful blocks — apparently, an hour of wading through fresh powder is too much for even mink oil to repel. Still, I stay, muddling my way along the damp window, eyeing the various triptych paintings hung within. This isn’t my building, but sometimes I want to lay claim to it, anyway — to hold the potential for creation again, a physical manifestation of months of work. Pausing is not a good idea, for the sake of numb toes and fingertips, but there’s something about these triptychs and the narrative they form, through their use of color and organic matter and deconstruction of shape and line, some of them so lean, so sharp they might slice through this reality, and I am struck. I am in awe. I am also freezing, thin pants, no gloves, and relieved when a friend passes by and lets me inside. “But the door is unlocked.” But it didn’t even occur to me to try. #weeklyassignment #snowfall #tinytruth #cnfgram

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untethered

One night two years ago, a dozen people congregated in this stairwell. We curled up under blankets, two to a step, feet stuffed into wool socks and winter boots. Braver students than I climbed over the railing to perch on a narrow concrete ledge, suspended ten feet over the ground. Sneaks swung back and forth, and disembodied cigarettes hovered over us like fireflies. The floodlight was burned out that night. Today, there isn’t much evidence of us, the hall everyone loved to hate, just faded teal spray-paint from the day I decided all my furniture should match the blue of my bed sheets. Someone has used copper paint since then, burnished the cold grey concrete, covering my teal. The paintings on the brick wall are new — thick, black paint strokes outlining the bodies of six men, arms clasped together, straining in opposite directions on the stairs. The paint has dripped down the wall and crash-landed in small dark spots on the steps below. On the landing, there’s a poem stenciled in black. We never moved when I was a kid, but if we had, I think it would be like this — an empty stairwell, an untethered former resident, and the people I know gone. #weeklyassignment

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