Sunday, April 12, 2009

When I Come To It

I must have been thinking about traveling a lot in the past several years. I wanted to name my private practice Waypoint because it represents a point to stop and rest, to regroup for the remainder of the journey, or to get oriented on the path. It can also be a goal to reach. I got the idea from Geoff as he used a GPS to designate waypoints for our travel destinations. I had no idea exactly what my journey would entail. I thought I was on a straight path that would take me through the rest of my life. To my surprise, this year feels like the beginning of a regrouping process. At this point, the trip seems like it's going to be an extended one. I'm reconsidering everything I used to take for granted. Kind of feels like I'm driving at night without any headlights.

When I do travel, I like flying for the convenience of it but I think I prefer driving to my destination when I can. It feels disconcerting not to see everything that lies between the two points, especially if I'm going to a place that's very different from where I started. I like "experiencing" the change process from point A to point B. With this life change stuff, I'd just as soon get on a leer jet and zip across time to the next waypoint, kno
wing more quickly how things turn out. Am I happy? fulfilled?

Given the metaphor of travel that's been creeping up in my vision of life right now, i
t's not surprising that when I went for a walk several days ago and wanted to make some sketches, I chose to capture a bridge crossing over a creek. I feel like I'm stepping onto a bridge right now in my life. I'm not quite sure what's on the other side. It looks harmless enough. As I step onto the bridge, however, I begin to feel excitement and trepidation. I've never been so aware of crossing to the next place. Endless questions nag me -- is this the best direction for me? can I handle what's on the other side? what exactly am I crossing over? will the bridge hold my weight or will I tumble into the chasm of death and destruction underneath? Sorry, just a little bit of an exaggeration.

When I first made this sketch, the perspective was WAY off. I can see that it is still a little bit off but with a little correction, it got better. I guess all I can ask of myself right now is to take whatever time I need, make sure I have as clear a perspective as possible and cross each bridge as I come to it, trusting that what's on the other side will be worth the trip. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Almost Skyline

Soon after I moved to Champaign-Urbana (CU), one of my new friends who had lived here for several years said "People don't decide to stay in Champaign, they just stop thinking about leaving." There are many things to love about CU. The traffic rush hour is essentially non-existent. Yeah, there are more people on the road but a couple of extra minutes at the stoplight isn't exactly gridlock. Housing is affordable. The dirt here is great so yards and gardens are beautiful. There are enough liberal-minded people that I don't feel the suffocating squeeze of conservatism that exists in the more rural areas of the Midwest. The University supports interesting performances at a number of venues. It's a big enough place to have two hospitals so if I have a botched surgery in one, there's another to try. The U of Illinois attracts a culturally diverse population. And, now, we have a marathon!

According to the US Census Bureau, by size, CU is 192nd of 363 US metropolitan areas. Not a very distinguished position. Kind of like being a middle child. Nothing really special about us. We're not the biggest or the smallest. Neither first nor last. No one pays any attention...We're just not inherently special. Take note, however, we almost have a skyline. One of my clients looked at the view from my 5th floor office, including some of the new, taller apartment/retail buildings and asked humorously, "are we getting a skyline?" My response? "Almost."

We don't have a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods. No Container Store or Ikea. No H&M or Anthropologie. No Crate & Barrell or Pottery Barn. We do, however, have 3 Super Walmarts. Woo-hoo! Why not embrace our almost-ness? We can see it as a place of striving. A place where being the 190th largest city is just around the corner.
It's not clear that CU will ever move into the realm of skylines and cityscapes but, hey, as a middle child, I like it just fine.

The sketch is the view from my office. I did some work on it in Photoshop but I'm now having problems editing it -- the lettering is awful. Back to the Photoshop tutorial to learn how to work with layers!]