If you go to Vilnius and walk down Pylimo Gatve, there stands, only a few blocks away from the last remaining synagogue, a rather unassuming structure. Vilnius—a city that has particular fondness for the baroque churches of the Counter-Reformation—has on its streets a rather unassuming neo-classical reform church. Like most buildings in the city, it is mainly a brick structure, given it’s grandiose appearance from a thick layer of plaster that coats the entire surface—plaster that is slowly being chipped away by the elements. The stairs that lead up to the church are uniformly rectangular ranging in color from grey to a muted red. Here the question can be asked: why the difference in color if all of these stones ideally should have been extracted from the same quarry? Indeed these stones were all extracted from the same quarry—a quarry of the dead. Look closer at the stones themselves and it will become apparent that despite the perpetual precipitation that coats the southeast Baltic, horizontal demarcations can be made out—demarcations that are read from right to left. If this has not already become apparent, the stones here are not normal stones, but rather gravestones from a Jewish cemetery.
In a letter from 1967, kept carefully preserved in Reed College’s Special Collections, Gary Snyder writes to a fellow student Charles Leong of “the state of things in Poetland (I actually was intending to write Portland).” Snyder, a student at Reed College from 1947 to 1951, went on in life to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet commonly associated with the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, the Black Mountain Poets, and Beat Poetry, an essayist, an environmental activist, and an avid calligrapher. Starting in his time at Reed, he became interested in Buddhist spirituality and would go on to study Buddhism in Kyoto, Japan for much of his life.
The second to last week of August 2018 saw blazing red skies as the setting sun's rays fought through thick clouds of wildfire smoke. First-years starting this year at Reed will likely remember these smoldering hot days for the rest of their lives as Orientation Week 2018. O-Week is memorable for most matriculated students here, if not fondly, then at least as a chaotic crash course in Reed culture. Orientation Week has changed greatly throughout Reed’s history, with the biggest and most recent change being the switch from House Advisors working as staff during Orientation to the hiring of an entire Orientation Team to develop and lead events. Lauren, Grail writer and Orientation 2018 Team Member, caught up with Hayfa Anchour, one half of the dynamic duo of amazing Orientation Coordinators, to discuss these and other new changes, and also to uncover both the distant and more recent past of Reed Orientation along the way.