Spectrum | Feb. 7 4:56 pm EST
Steps Distress

The steps at the Earl Hall Gate sit on the couch

Let's talk it out. Illustration by Rebecca Farley

In our Unheard Voices series, blogger Rebecca Farley gives a platform to the (literally) silent observers on Columbia’s campus. On Feb. 6, the Earl Hall Steps get their chance as Farley records their session with the Columbia psychiatrist for architectural monuments. 

I understand you’ve been feeling isolated recently. Can you talk about that?

I suppose.


Well, what?

You seem a bit frosty today, that’s all.

Think you’re funny, eh?

Oh, no, sorry! Honest mistake; didn’t mean the pun. I understand you are a bit—how would I put it—encumbered? Blanketed? Swaddled?

I am consumed, smothered, parceled, stifled—I needn’t mention the smell, mind you, too horrid—by a sheet of whatever buggery with which the sky has plagued me. So no. I am not swaddled. I am not blanketed. I am dying. 

Let’s talk about that. Why do you feel like you’re dying?

Well, let’s begin with Monday. Snow is lovely, no? It floats rather than drops or plops; soundless, it creeps across the city like a panther—

A panther?

Yes, a panther. It creeps across the city, tip-toeing over bridges and skittering atop trees, weighing their branches with its duplicitous weight.

I’m not sure weight can be duplicitous.

I am merely being poetic. Do you not usually engage with steps that speak in the metaphorical sense? Nevertheless, irrelevant; snow itself is duplicitous. At first, it cradles one with its marshmallow embrace, and then, my friend, hold onto your britches because the snow will find a way to pull them down, it reveals itself to be among nature’s most threatening beasts.

I see. And why would this be?

You asked me earlier about my current isolation. You are correct in assuming that for two days this week I did not see a single student. Good doctor, without the gentle taps of Doc Martens and Frye boots on my stone surface, I find that the days last longer than the passage of my life entire.

Why no students?

The snow, you imbecile, the snow! As the inches pour onto Columbia’s campus, so the “Emergency Management Operations Team” at Columbia must determine which steps are the ones truly in need of shoveling. Needless to say, I always fail the test. The gates that lead to my shrubbery-enshrouded nest have been closed for, and I quote, “snow removal and icy conditions.” Apparently, I am “hazardous.”

I’m sure it’s been a trying week, feeling the weight of the snow on your steps without the students.

“Trying” only describes a fraction of my misery. The worst by far was watching the students who I knew would rather walk my surface walk past me and onto the putrid Low Steps. 

You seem to have a certain dislike for Low Steps.

The peacock of Columbia’s architectural institutions. Yes, we’ve had a falling out.

Why was that?

I don’t care to comment on the matter.

Rebecca Farley is a sophomore who really enjoys the convenience of the Earl Hall Gates. In her spare time, she can be found standing in front of the locked gates, rereading the email from the Emergency Management Operations Team.





  1. Unbiased Reviewer • February 7, 2014 at 6:21 pm • Reply

    This column was awesome. That is all.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  2. Anonymous • February 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm • Reply

    I for one would rather see Low Steps closed and Earl Hall gate open

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    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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