As I look over the cherry field
I feel eyes watching me, waiting.
There is something there, something left behind
in the garden that feels caught,
dragging from thorns I never thought to see.
With sweetness but a memory, the fruit is bitter in its absence.
The insects are clearer than ever
but they shrink as I take a step back.
Every step, growing smaller.
Until the cherries from years past shine like the setting sun,
their thorns unfurled
into leaves that brushed my bleeding hands
as they promised a treasure hidden just out of sight.
The further I back away, the more effort it takes
to remember that the cherries are a memory.
To not go running forward.
I tell myself that the orchard is gone,
that the gray briars are all that remain
of that cherry field—
the briars that I planted
as a child, in search of sweeter fruit.
In my hunger, I choked the cherries
that stood tall and still do,
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In the wake of the recent developments in the ongoing case dealing with the death of Sam Mason, many students take time to remember his life.
Sam Mason, a 20-year-old Radford University sophomore and Tau Kappa Epsilon pledge, was found dead on Oct. 15, 2010 in a house off campus. Mason died of ethanol poisoning after attending a TKE party off campus the previous night.
Two events were held to remember Mason as the first anniversary of his death approached. On Oct. 10-12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Panhellenic Council teamed up with the Interraternity Council to sponsor an event where students could tie-dye T-shirts in memory of Sam Mason. On Oct. 13, students held a candlelight vigil in remembrance.
These two events were also held in 2010 shortly after Mason’s death. Last year, friends of Mason set up a table for students to tie-dye T-shirts in remembrance of their friend because he really loved tie-dye, The Grateful Dead and retro-themed things. This year the Greek community took it upon themselves to host a tie-dying table.
“It is our duty as a Greek community to honor him,” said Panhellenic Executive Council President Brandi Steele.
Steele has faith that the event will continue each year.
Steele said that to Mason’s friends, tie-dye is a perfect representation of him. The event was very successful and the table, which was located outside of the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center, was always full. The event gave students a way to show support and to remember Mason. It made students feel bonded to each other.
“If I see a tie-dye shirt today, I feel bonded to everyone else knowing that we are representing a common cause,” Steele said.
At the candlelight vigil there were many people wearing tie-dye T-shirts. Several close friends of Mason spoke briefly about who Mason was and how life has been without him.
“It seems crazy to me that a year has gone by [since Mason’s death],” said Scott Thompson, a Radford University student and friend of Mason.
Thompson ended his speech by directing his attention to the audience and told them to cherish what they have and to be safe because life takes unexpected turns.
Derek Milliron, another friend of Mason, also spoke at the vigil about how he remembers Mason’s friendly nature. Milliron said Sam always had a “constant ability to light up every situation” and never had a bad or degrading thing to say about anyone. He ended by speaking to Mason and asking him to “keep on smiling.”
The recent developments in Mason’s case include indictments made on Sept. 20. Seven Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members were indicted for hazing and supplying alcohol to an underage person in the case dealing with the death of Sam Mason. The seven men indicted were Dustin Lee Moore, Louis Hoskins Trible, Ryan N. Lawson, Christopher Michael Pizzi, Christopher Scott Cothren, Chadwick Evancho and William Taylor Blurke. There has not been any further developments in the case reported.