Christian Cieri – Illustrator

As massive blocks of ice smoothly slide along the shore of our Genesee River, the water swiftly resonates along the bank, lapping under a soft and cool wind. On this evening, everything starts to move: the cold no longer withholds the emerging wildlife on the campus of the University of Rochester. The Genesee is melting, at last.

Tomorrow morning, a handful of men and women will be waking up before dawn, like every other day. At exactly 5:30 a.m., the alarm goes off; you don’t snooze it. You get up, grab your bag and plunge into the cold darkness leading to the training facility across the river. Duly following the same, relentless routine, they are the rowing team. While everyone else is asleep, long before alarm clocks echo in dorm rooms, before sleepy students invade the bathrooms, before masses of students fight their way through the freshly fallen snow to their early classes, the team is training hard—longing to finally get back on the water.

The spring season is coming. The Genesee is melting, and soon, long, thin boats will be gliding along the banks again, racing against wind and rain. From out there, you can behold the campus, crowned by the top of Rush Rhees Library. Sometimes, you can glimpse the Interfaith Chapel, with the sun rising above the tops of the trees. There, you feel the water sliding against the hull; you keep your eyes fixed on your t e a m m a t e ’s neck in front of you; you feel your legs burning, your breath lost, but you cannot ignore the beauty of the moment. There, life resuscitates; the Genesee River is melting.

Boats will be racing. In the rising morning, if you listen carefully, sharp voices will be heard again, calling for “power and focus 10s.” Oars will snap on the surface; rowers will do their job, pushing through the water faster than ever, because the spring season is coming again.

Troadec is a member of the class of 2018.

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