My Grown-Up Tree House

Maybe there’s something peculiar about me, but ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to have someplace that seems like it’s just mine. I want to have someplace to run to and to be able to hide in. I want to be able to rejoice in a quiet little place all on my own and just sit and think, do homework, or write. And where do I run to here at FIT? I run straight into our gorgeous botanical gardens, colloquially known as “The Jungle.”

The Jungle is where Florida Tech students go to study or just to escape for a few minutes of peace and serenity in our crazy lives. The Jungle is a series of trails that runs through most of the woods on campus and most people know it as a good shortcut between areas of campus. But one of my favorite things to do is take a walk out from next to Evans Hall into the quietest part of The Jungle. I’ll trek down to the mouth of the creek and search for inspiration in the depths of the rushing waters, then walk back towards the tamer part of The Jungle. The cool forest air and the light chirping of the local birds and crickets put my senses at ease, and I fall into serenity.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t have a lot of time in my life that is dedicated to being quiet and alone. Most of my time is spent running to or from class, or with my face buried in a book, taking advantage of any study time I can find. What I love about The Jungle is that I can be alone and have a place that seems to be just mine for those few minutes a day. It is, to me, the equivalent of a little kid having a hideaway that is just theirs – like a tree house, almost.

When I was a little girl, I had a swing set with an attached tree house that I absolutely loved. It was second in my affections only to the nature trails that ran through the forest behind my house in New York. I’ve certainly always loved the woods, and I indulge my inner child every time I walk into my campus forest. My favorite thing to do is climb across the fallen trees to a big sandbar in the middle of the Crane Creek. I’ll just stand there and admire my surroundings, grinning like a little kid and recalling the days when I would have played there, pretending to be a pirate, or an explorer, or anything I wanted to be. I’ll sit down across a fallen palm and splash my feet through the clear, cold water, just as I would have when I was little.

Sometimes, it rains when I’m walking out along the trails. This just adds to the magic for me. Can you imagine listening to the softest little pitter-patter of raindrops on the tops of the palm trees? Can you imagine a few drops of cold rain catching in your hair and your lashes, the rest of you remaining shielded by The Jungle’s foliage? Its days like this that make me grateful for my little escape–for this child’s dream play land. By the time I emerge from the woods, back into the fast-paced Florida Tech world, I’m re-energized and ready to continue on with my day.

The Jungle is an amazing place to read, write, study, or just sit and think. It may not be the adventure that it is for me for everyone else, but that’s what makes it so special to me. This Panther has reign over her jungle, at least for those few minutes a day. The Jungle is my grown-up tree house, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Stop by sometime and indulge your inner child. Run around, splash in the creek, or sit around and listen to the crickets. You won’t regret it. Take it from this psychology major: returning to the days of your childhood is good every once in a while!

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