Tribe, Village, City, State

Of all social structures, cities are the one I’m most familiar with; I’ve lived in the world’s greatest. But I grew up in a different structure, and as I get more used to this year on campus, I’m starting to like it again. The village.

Campus is a village: part of a broader society, yet somehow not. The instant you drive onto Warwick University’s campus a few klicks downstream from Coventry, you’re in a different place: banners proclaim you’re on intellectual turf, car parks and buildings are suddenly off limits. Unless, of course, you’re part of it.

The Autumn chill is closing in. But somehow the campus is warm. A living thing, connected by thought and ideas and 100Mbps internet connections. The warmth of its breath grooves and stretches campuswide like an organic WiFi hotspot, mellowing, calming, making a whole out of the parts.

The Mathematics Building, two perfect squares atop the Pythagorean triangle of Gibbet Hill and University Road. The Social Studies Centre, a writhing complex of murky corners and dark existential corridors. The Automotive Centre, all crash-tested flowing lines and safety-conscious rounded frontage. The Humanities Building, ablaze with life. From a systems perspective, there’s a line surrounding all these places, marking that subtle divide between organism and environment.

And within it, my room. My little place for the year.

Shelves. Duvets. A big cheap desk. A little flat red iPod. A couple of steampunk laptops. I didn’t bring anything valuable here; no design need. So simple, yet every part of it significant, because used and useful. Somehow part of the bigger picture. No shiny things here still in their wrappers. Everything’s a valuable part of the ecosystem. I feel alive.

Time to stomp. To walk campus, drink it all in.

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