Northwestern Green Space Dedication Ceremony
Sept. 9, 2008

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Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, addresses the group who attended Tuesday’s Green Space Dedication ceremonies. As part of the event, a poem titled “Green Space,” which was written by Dr. Sandra Petree, associate professor of English, specifically for the dedication ceremonies, was read by Kimberly Weast, assistant professor of theatre, and Kathy Earnest, instructor of English.. That poem is below. A special handout telling about the history of the space is provided here.

Green Space
A poem by Dr. Sandra Petree 

A green space is a tribute to the land,
and somewhere in the deeper corners of our souls
we understand
that we and the land
are one.
                                                                        Gentle sun,
                                                                        a hint of breeze,
                                                                        the pleasant fragrance of a flowering shrub.

Too easily
we let our lives become consumed by consumption.
Too easily
we hurry through our days,
check items off our lists,
adhere to rigid calendars
of things to do.
But sometimes
the deeper corners of our souls
demand a quiet place,
a place of beauty,
contemplation;
not a place designed
for product or production,
for pomp or power,
for gain or getting.
We need then to pay tribute to the land.
We need a green space then.

                                                                        A bird, unnerved,
                                                                        darts off a ways
                                                                        and watches carefully
                                                                        to see if I'm a threat.
                                                                        Traffic moves,
                                                                        but it seems distant, somehow,
                                                                        from this place.

A green space
should be still,
a quiet place,
and it should call to mind
the powerful ties that bind
humanity,
ties that remind us who we are,
that we came from and are
one with the land.

                                                                        Sitting,
                                                                        I see
                                                                        names of persons who once walked this way;
                                                                        a stone reminder of
                                                                        our nation's greatest tragedy;
                                                                        artistic efforts of
                                                                        a gardener's mastery.
                                                                        I hear
                                                                        the chimes that mark the passing of this hour.
                                                                        I sense
                                                                        the history and the lofty goals this campus
                                                                                    represents.
                                                                        I touch
                                                                        the sun-warmed metal of this bench
                                                                        placed here for me.

And it should make us grateful,
this quiet place,
for where we are,
and when,
and why
in our fleeting moment of the here and now
beneath the sky.

                                                                        The bird,
                                                                        convinced, apparently,
                                                                        that I am not a threat
                                                                        continues on his way,
                                                                        disturbing as he must the ground
                                                                        the gardeners have carefully arranged. 

                                                We seem companions,
                                                he and I,
                                                and we can be,
                                                here in this green space
                                                under Oklahoma skies.

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Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Steve Valencia, Director
Office of University Relations
709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-8478  Fax: (580) 327-8660

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