Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Finding Beauty in My Work

As much as this blog is about parenting, I think it's important to remember that parents are people, too, and we're allowed to have lives outside of our kids.  And honestly, I think that's hugely important for any parent, let alone one with a very challenging kid at home.  I usually find myself in a rut of just trying to survive the day and not taking the time to enjoy the little things.  I hurry through pickup because I'm eager to get home, or rush through dinner before the kids get out of hand.  I sit Carter in front of a show so I can get a few minutes of quiet downtime, or speed through bedtime books because I'm tired myself.  And all of that means that I don't have the ability to stop and admire what's around me.  If I do, inevitably I'll have two children shoving each other around the second I look back.  So, needless to say, I try to appreciate my time away, even if it happens to be while I'm working.

This past weekend was a combination homecoming/reunion/parents' weekend at work, which meant that my Friday and Saturday were pretty darn crazy.  In fact, Saturday turned into a 13-1/2 hour day!  I did a 12-hour day last year on that Saturday, but prior to that it's been a long time since my frequent 14-hour days when I worked in sports.  I'm a little out of practice, as I'm still exhausted days later, but it was fun and I could not resist taking a few moments to appreciate the activity that was going on around me.

On Friday I had a two-hour shift working a table near registration, and as I waited for the shuttle to head over to campus, I couldn't help but soak in every moment of the beautiful fall day...

After I was done with my shift, I had a little time to wander through a couple new spaces on campus before heading out to one of the quads to hear a carillon concert.  If you're not aware, a carillon is a system of bells that are tuned to be played to make music.  The library tower has one, and while I've heard chimes a couple times while on campus, I'd never heard a full-on concert.  So I wandered out to listen and see the activity on the quad.  There were giant letters spelling out our motto, Meliora (it means, "Ever Better"), and I just loved that moment of enjoying perfect weather, a lively campus, and pretty music...with no distractions.

As I was waiting for my shuttle back to the office (and my car), the sun started setting behind the campus chapel.  It's subtle, but I snapped this picture of the light coming through the windows.  Usually it's hard to see the color in those windows, so I was happy to sneak a little moment to capture it.

On Saturday morning I was back at it by 10am, and it was a cool, dreary morning, a major contrast to the day before.  Luckily I was stationed in a tent so I stayed dry, and it was actually really fun to see all of the activity in the area I was in.  After about six hours in and around that area, I had to go clean up the table setup I'd worked at the day before, and then I had to wander halfway across campus to my car.  By then the rain was gone and it had turned into a cool but decent day.  There was a Ben Folds concert happening outside along the way, so I stopped to watch.  I couldn't help but notice how gorgeous the trees were above me. 

And the leaves below me weren't so bad themselves...

After talking to some friends for a while, I eventually made it to my car and drove to my office.  I decided I felt better about taking the shuttle back and forth for my late night shift, rather than walking to some far-off parking lot in the dark at 11pm.  I changed my clothes, freshened up, and went to my car to wait for the shuttle.  As I waited, I noticed that the clouds were getting little hints of yellow on their edges.  It was a beautiful sight after such a cloudy day, and by the time I got on the shuttle and was on the road to campus, I realized that the sunset was going to be amazing!  The sky was turning shades of hot pink on the horizon, and the clouds above let off a pinky tone.  When I got off the shuttle I tried to find a spot to capture some of the color, but it turned out I just had to wait because everything was blocked by trees.  Still, I walked up to the quad and couldn't resist snapping away.  Of course, the photos don't really capture exactly what I was seeing, but they're fun anyway.
Philanthropist and Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman, from behind...

As I was waiting for a couple people to walk away so I could get the Meliora letters alone, a huge gust of wind knocked the "O" right over!  It's a bit blurry because I had to snap fast to get it before people starting fixing it, but I thought it was funny.

The chapel with some of the fun sunset behind it.  Note that those are the windows I captured up-close in the shot above.

FINALLY...I got the Meliora without anyone else in the picture!

By this point the sky was pretty amazing.  This picture almost does it justice.

One last look at the quad with the lights of Rush Rhees shining like a beacon.
The sky was awesome to watch as I wandered to my last shift.  I got to enjoy a performance by comedian Trevor Noah, and then stayed extra late to accompany a lovely alumna who got stranded at the venue, until we could find her a way back to her hotel.  It turned out to be a very long day, but those little moments of beauty from the weekend were so nice to take in.  I like having the bandwidth to pay attention to them once in a while.  That little mental recharge was nice, especially since the weekend drained me physically!  But the weekend wasn't over yet...more on that soon!

No comments: