The N.A.U. auditorium is filled with parents, friends, graduates, speakers, security, and interested observers.
The event is graduation for the 2015 class of NAU Lumberjacks who have spent their last several years sharpening axes, learning to identify trees, and borrowing money to pay for the experience of reading, writing, attending lectures, doing group projects, and getting indoctrinated in a variety of subjects that might or might not lead to paying the rent. There are student loans to be paid, job interviews, moving, trips to Europe.
This is Calley’s Day and she receives, on a snowy day in spring, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a specialty in Accounting.
The speeches are dull but there is pomp and circumstance as participants march into the auditorium wearing gowns and caps with tassels and ballooning sleeves and dignitaries give themselves Honorary Degrees and remark on the importance of the occasion and how graduates should be committed to contribution, caring, and consensus. Once it is all over, all file outside to take photos and celebrate.
Graduating from college is still an achievement, even in 2015.
It is a good to congratulate a niece done with class and on her way to a backpack trip to Europe with a girlfriend. She has a job waiting when she returns.
Uncle Scott will watch her cat Pickles. When someone graduates, it is like a stone dropped into a pond. The ripples touch a lot of shores.
Pickles will have a better life, no matter what, and he never had to go to school to get it.
The real surprise is snow in Flagstaff in May.
As everyone we talk to says, with laughter, ” This is so Flagstaff.”