Saturday, August 29, 2009

sacred memories

when i got accepted into medicine as a last minute add-on due to one of their other applicants turning down the post, i knew how lucky and privileged i was. it was the first step in a very long journey and i wasn't going to mess it up.

the first year in those days was spent at the main campus and we would only be at the medical campus from second year onwards. second and third years would be spent on the pre-clinical campus and only from fourth year onwards would we be in close proximity to the big boys. all this i didn't know when, during first year orientation they bussed us to the medical campus so we could see the preclinical buildings and watch with a fair amount of jealousy when the higher year students walked past. the whole medical training thing was very hierarchical. it didn't bother me. i had been in a similar system before and had moved up the ladder. i could do it again.

the preclinical campus was a very relaxed place. there were essentially only two buildings (ok, ok there was also the dentistry building but we didn't go there) with a large grassy lawn between them. there were a few trees providing shade for groups of students lying on the grass and reading or chatting. our group of first years on orientation clearly didn't seem to fit in. none the less we found a tree to sit under during a short break in the orientation program.

and there i sat in a state close to euphoria with my hopes and my dreams all layed before me. i knew i stood at the beginning of a journey that would lead me to what i one day would be. what i was at that stage was of little significamce other than the fact that it was a pointer to what i would become.

i lay under the tree and, as best i could, told my friend who was with me about these thought. i then added that i would use the tree as a sort of temporal marker that i could come back to when i was finally what i would be. then i would stand under the tree annd remember that exact moment when i looked into the unknown future with innocent hopes and dreams.

recently i had the opportunity to go back to the preclinical campus. i remembered that moment so many years ago and was quite eager to stand under that same tree and reflect about the years that had passed and what i had become. on that day, so long ago, i would never have guessed that i would have gone on after medicine to specialise in surgery, so i actually achieved more than i dared dream. i was realy looking forward to a moment that would link one specific moment in the past with the present.

the campus was just as i remembered it. the lawn was still there and there were still students sitting in small groups. they just looked so much younger than i remember being. then i went towards the far side of the lawn to have my moment under the tree.

they had cut the tree down! it was gone. everything else was exactly the same except my tree. is there nothing sacred?

12 comments:

Sascha Fierce said...

Nooo!! That's really sad :-( Truly, nothing is sacred...

Greg P said...

Just as silence speaks volumes, the tree's absence is a message, from the tree.

rlbates said...

Did "they put up a parking lot"? Sorry about the tree.

Travis said...

In a month or less I will find out if my Dreams and Hopes will be laid out before me and get into Medicine; then I too can have a deeply sentimental moment...

Hold Thumbs for me!

david said...

this tree reminds me of something out of the lord or the rings or something.
pretty impressive to get to where you are being a white male in SA. (but then again maybe you are not).
i always thought these days you have to be black, female, lesbian and disabled to get anywhere in this country.

WWWebb said...

Sometimes rhe tree says more by its absence than it did when it was there.

Bongi said...

rlbates no they didn't replace it with anything. only the tree was gone. all the rest exactly the same.

Bongi said...

travis, good luck!!

david, i'm not too bright which is a disability. does that count?

Karen Little said...

I remember that campus... The only grass in the entire place. I remember sitting there after my first session in the dissecting hall, and wondering how I was going to eat my lunch with my hands which smelled so strongly of formalin (amongst other things). I also remember the grass in front of Steers on Main Campus - LOTS of time spent there. But yet, not enough.

Erin said...

Such a sad thing. Especially something that meant so much and that you could pinpoint a certain moment to. But, at least you will always have that unique story that you will be able to remember.

The Hippocratic Oaf said...

Haha! Sorry, but that actually made me laugh a bit. Well done.

Nurse To Doc said...

Loved this post!

My "Tree moment" is much less serene. I used to lock myself in the same toilet cubicle and cry when it all got too much during the first few months in medicine.

I am in my last year now and visited my toliet for a spot of nostalgia a few weeks back!

Not crying anymore though - just glad to nearly be done.