As the 2012 fall semester has drawn to a close with the finish of final examination week, the University of Nevada, Reno campus, which has been at full-throttle since August, seems to have finally exhaled.
Students are headed home for winter break. Faculty and staff are putting the touches on final grades and final projects for the semester.
Soon, normally brimming sidewalks will grow somewhat solitary. Classrooms once filled with conversation and energy will sit quiet and empty (until the beginning of Wintermester, of course). Parking will be easier to find.
A campus that normally buzzes with activity, from August to December, from sunrise to sundown (and well into the night oftentimes), will grow mellow and contemplative.
The quiet of the campus will beg visitors to stop, to think, and to smile.
As they stop, as they think, and as they smile, these visitors to campus might do what Robert Dickens, the University's director of Governmental Affairs did Thursday morning. Dickens pulled out his camera and snapped just one image of many that the campus offers every day.
Even half-covered with ice, even on a morning cold enough where you could still see the collective breath of the geese rising off the ice like steam off a familiar family tea pot, Manzanita Lake remains, like so much of the beauty of the campus, something that quietly enters your bloodstream, settles there, and warms you like nothing else.