Everywhere the humans have been, and especially everywhere the humans still are, there are ghosts. We haunt. There is nothing more fundamental. We leave bits of us — artifacts, fragments of memory, graffiti, letters, legends — everywhere that we have been. Those traces reanimate, like Sea Monkey eggs poured into brine, among humans who eventually encounter them. Things long dormant come to life.
They can raze the Pei Dormitories and rechristen New College "DeSantis University". They can exile the the faculty and recruit chidren raised by televangelists. They can scrub every surface with bleach and hydroxychloroquine, desperate to erase any trace of us.
But we who are now dead, we lived there. We loved there. We lived brief lives so extraordinary there that the rest of the world, the rest of our own lives, faded dim. That cannot be erased.
It won't be.
As long as there is a college of any kind on that remarkable, beautiful campus, as long as there are kids who live there and a community striving to teach and learn, there will be resonances. The collective adolescence will draw our poltergeist.
Even now, our usurpers live only in our negative spaces. Or in weak caricatures of our negative spaces that their own smallness and madness have hallucinated for them. Pity them. They make so much noise, they stomp gleefully upon the wildflowers. But despite their professed religion, no spirit stirs beneath their ruckus. They croak sound with no echoes. Their footprints are nothing to time and wind. Wildflowers grow back, thick in bright colors, from detritus of root and seed.
Haunt. Small men in large pulpits come and go. There have never been smaller men than these.
Haunt. Tell our stories. Leave traces, sprinkle breadcrumbs, in these electric entrails we now inhabit. In places where they can find them, not in the ever-shifting self-eradicating folds of Mark Zuckerberg's gigabit anus.
What we leave, the kids will find. They will want to know. The transcendant is rare in our difficult country. New College is a wellspring. Children whose upbringing has been constraint masquerading as rapture, cruelty masquerading as civilization, threat masquerading as sanctuary, will thirst all the more for the water.
Trustees, they call themselves, as if anyone would trust them. President. How grand. These people are parade floats transecting only briefly the center of the universe. Vulgar, imposing, made of nothing but hot air smelling stale like sweat and fear. We have indulged them too much already with diplomacy and outrage, with any kind of attention at all. They are unworthy of attention at all.
And stay, if you can. Whether you are student, staff, or faculty, it will be a trial. But an even better medium for haunting than an abandonned house is a living body possessed by spirit and memory. By no means give those motherfuckers any money. But if you can stand it, if you can put up with their harrying and petulence and dishonesty and cruelty, stay. A river runs through you.
And love. The kids who will come, whether they are recruited on baseball scholarships or from community colleges (a genuinely wonderful initiative) or whether they are our own kids, the kids are not our enemy. They are us and we are them. As long as they live and learn as fully and richly and wildly as we did, nothing can be lost. Flickering in a windstorm conjured by fools, we offer a flame. Only we know its warmth and technicolor brilliance. We offer it in love, despite the gusts and gales.
It won't be easy for these new kids either. This storm is meant to keep them pliantly in their shelters.
We were not so pliant. Neither will they be.