Swingsets, potted plants, gardens, porches and sheds. Are some of those things in your backyard? Mine too. Things that allow me to take a break, rest, relax and recenter. Things that allow me to maintain our home, nourish our family and care for our plants over the course of the seasons. And things that allow my family to play together- to be silly, to laugh and to be loud. (The last of these is imperative when you have three children who often times enjoy squealing as their primary mode of communication.) Backyards are places where hard work is done, memories are made and life moments are created.
So one might ask; does W&M have a backyard? Yup- and I dare say it is probably one of the coolest backyards you’ll find on a college campus. It’s known as the Sunken Garden and it’s a must see when you come to campus for a visit. There isn’t much about its physical layout that will blow your mind (although on a foggy early morning just after the sun has risen there are few other places more beautiful), but it is what happens there that makes it so amazing. It’s a place where ultimate frisbee games are won and lost, classes are held, love is found, naps are taken, minds are changed, tans are improved, arguments are had and values evolve. There are ghost stories told about its history which add a certain mystique to its aura at about 3 a.m. And, it’s a prominent part of the W&M student tradition known as “the triathlon” (if you’re not familiar- let’s just say that many a student have been known to share their first streaking experiences together running across the expansive space). It is also at the geographic center of W&M campus layout. It is an amazing place and it’s a rare day that I don’t stroll through the Sunken Garden and observe people engaged in parts of their life which I would guess they’ll remember forever..
When students arrive at W&M it becomes their home for four years. They create lifelong relationships with other students, faculty, community members and friends. At the risk of sounding cliché- they really do find a second family of sorts. And while they are here they rest together, work together and learn together- their backyard. The Sunken Garden.
– Jennifer Scott