We lazily shake out of Building Two in the Soldier Field Park Apartments, Harvard Business School, located on 1 Western Avenue, at 7am to begin the day. The 10-hour academic activity and lengthy, carry home reading assignments are exhaustive for many of us who are on the wrong side of 50.
It is mid-May. The sun is rather bright, set against the blue sky. However, Ken, with whom I share the apartment, insists that we carry umbrellas. A professor at the Utah University, he is particular on the weather check. The forecast indicates light showers in the evening. The walk to Harvard Kennedy School is barely 20 minutes. Walking along the Harvard Way, as we get past Burden Hall and approach Kresge Dining Hall, the pace picks up due to the sheer breathtaking beauty of nature around. The fatigue gradually begins to evaporate.
The steps slow down for a pause in front of the majestic Baker Library Building. Facing the magnificent structure bearing the prominent Harvard insignia, VERITAS (truth) inscribed in bold letters, is a huge open lush green lawn, the size of the soccer field, hemmed between the Morris and Mellon Halls. At the home edge of the lawn stands the replica of the sacred bell of Danilova Monastery in Moscow. It is a symbolic tribute to friendship and understanding between Harvard University and Monastery of Saint Daniel.
Skirting around the Morris Hall, we are now over the Week Bridge across the Charles River. The deep blue water ripples through the tree-lined banks with thick vegetation. The cool breeze fills the lungs and the environment livens up the spirit. Charles was once a heavily polluted water body and a dip inside meant a complimentary tetanus shot.
While traffic along Soldier Field and Memorial Drive Roads on either side of the Charles River is heavy, but its serenity is fully respected by keeping the air and noise pollution to the minimal. There is no honking and pedestrian and cyclists always have the right of way. The healthy culture of jogging and cycling is the gift of abundance of nature.
Across the Week Bridge, we are now on the John F Kennedy (JFK) Street. The JFK Park on the left runs along the Memorial Drive and is always full of nature lovers. Book worms, love birds, fitness freaks and baby-sitters all rub shoulders with each other. As we cross the JFK Park, our memorable morning stroll ends when we enter the academic premises of Kennedy School.
It is late evening as we wind up the day. There is drizzle when we walk back to our apartments.
The lights of the passing cars softly graze over the quiet meandering Charles River. The tiny raindrops drip from the trees, gently tapping on the umbrellas. I wonder what makes Harvard a global centre of excellence. Is it its faculty, students or infrastructure? Maybe it is the perfect harmony between nature and mankind at its best; creating a unique setting, well beyond excellence.