Orange and maroon are on the move, like a river burbling down the sidewalk, like burgundy water roiling with golden Koi.
From my perch on a grassy hill, I see a sea of wine and oranges, a teeming tide of tee-shirts that streams towards the stadium. I hear the laughter and drunken hoots of Hokie fans. Children run with pom poms rustling. They laugh and lick ice cream and rattle plastic plumes while Dad slips a flask into his sock, or a fake camera with a liquor cavity into the diaper bag. On the way to the game, they – parents and children and college kids alike – are full of excited energy.
As the crowd thins – kickoff is near and the fans have funneled into the stadium like fish over rapids – I hear the hum and the sputter of a biplane in the crisp autumn air. Its hum heightens to a whine as it approaches, then recedes to a buzz as the plane banks towards the stadium. It pulls a banner, flapping like clear tape behind it, advertising pizza or insurance or the used care lot down the road.
The sidewalk is empty now, clean even, and I hear a gathering roar, carried across a mile of blue sky from Lane Stadium. The sound builds – rooooaaAAARRRRR – as football fans stomp and cheer for kickoff. A yellow butterfly floats over a bush near my knee.
After, when the tide recedes from the stadium, it will leave debris, just like the ocean. It will leave behind peanut shells and empty cups, abandoned pom poms and maroon and orange hair bows. If the Hokies won, the party will continue all night, a crash of waves under moonlight.
I wrote this at the beginning of football season in Blacksburg, VA, home of the Virginia Tech Hokies, in response to a writing workshop prompt “orange and maroon on the move.”