Small Joys, Big Impacts

Do you ever walk around your school, workplace, neighborhood and see things you just never noticed before? It’s the smallest of details, right?  And you “see” them every day, but never really notice them.

Yesterday, I finished up with my Leadership Academy workshop on Communication  and I needed a break from sitting. Yes, sitting. I sat in the car up to school ( that’s 90 minutes), then I sat some more in the LA workshop ( another 90 minutes), so by the end, I needed to move. I choose to head down south and check it out.

The “Southies,” as I call them, are the buildings and students that are separated by the Commencement Lawn,and the Student Union. For Southie students, it would be safe to say that they stay close to the South end of the campus. Down south is the Liberal Arts buildings, the Theater Arts building, the Liberal Studies and Education buildings.

Excited to travel on my walkabout, I headed south past the Commencement Lawn and noticed something small, yet for me, significant. “Peterson Science Building”. At San Diego State , we had the Peterson Gym, and I lived there. The Disablities Clinic was a second home for me, and I miss taking care of my clients. I thought,  “this Peterson guy sure does get around!”  It brought back a flood of great memories,and I must have looked silly walking with a huge smile on my face.

My strolling brought me to the Fine Arts building.  I will be honest and say Art is a huge mystery to me. But I think that is the point? I cannot draw a stick figure, and have never been good with “connect the dots” or even “color by number”. At least I was exposed to the arts, and I was blessed to travel and see some museums from time to time. ( Louvre, the Smithsonian, Getty).

So as I stood in front of the Student Art Galleries, I was frustrated and wanting to like them. I really did. Instead, I felt horrible that I thought: “Wow, if you gave my 3 years olds some scraps, paint, pieces of plastic and glue, could they do something similar?” I felt guilty, like I should be ooohing and ahhing over the beauty of it. But, alas, I kept saying that is the wonderful thing about Art.  It’s all about evoking an emotion within the viewer.


Struggling to find the beauty in the art, I walked out of the student art galleries and found beauty in something that many people walk by every day and probably never stopped to notice.  It’s really simple. The combination of square and round. Living and concrete. Its geometry is what caught my eye. Also, I happened to LOVE stag-hor ferns. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for me, while it was a small thing, it really made a statement.  I thought it was really cool that someone took the time to hang them there.
I kept walking south and walked into the Theater Arts building. I did a few acting gigs in high school, so I have at least a few words in my theater vocab,but again, I am definitely not in Kansas anymore. The thing about Theater, and acting that attracts me the most is not what is visible, but the magic that goes on behind the scenes. The set designers, lighting technicians, costume designers. They create the worlds that actors then play in, and bring to life.  Intrigued with this world,  I started walking around the building to see how magic is made.

The first thing I walked by were magicians at work. Working like a team of ants to create the perfect stage for the actors, students were getting a set up, and student in the rafters were practically hanging upside down to handle the lighting. It’s so cool to me that they are like Gods, in the sense that they have to the power to create worlds and destroy them, sometimes all in one night!



My walkabout led me down hallways, classrooms and 2 more theaters, and what made the walk so pleasant was their version of the “yellow brick road”. I loved it. So cheerful, so pretty, and it made such as simply,boring linoleum floor just come to life, much like the students do with their stage.


Following the yellow brick road to the front of the building, I walked past this sculpture.


Of course, the body of water surrounding it was attractive to me, but it was starkly juxtaposed by this incredibly intimidating, sharp, violent sculpture. Remember what I said earlier about art. This one I just couldn’t get. I moved past the fountain and through a grove of trees that I just thought was so beautiful and peaceful. Isn’t it cool when something very small brings peace or happiness to your life? Don’t you wish we could all savor those moments more?


I ended my walkabout by rounding the corner at the end of the trees, and found myself at the Library. If you’ve read my earlier post, you’ll know how I feel about them. I experienced another small, yet joyous moment when this is the first thing I saw when I walked into the library. Now, I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to put a Starbucks in the Library, but with the undeniable smell, and Trademark sign, this is one of those things that I’m sure students don’t miss when they walk by it!


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