Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Crying at the convention center . . .

As a spouse of someone who attends two large conferences each year, I am lucky to be able to tag along when the city hosting the conference holds particular appeal. Two years ago I went to Charlotte, North Carolina, and fell in love with a city I'd never before visited. Last week, I piggy-backed on Hubby's trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city that I hold dear for many reasons, not the least of which is having raised my family there.

Visiting a city that feels like an old, comfy friend gave rise to much nostalgia. But it also afforded me a new experience in the many years of attending conferences as a spouse--the opportunity to feel the locale through the voices of its writers and visual artists whose work is represented at the convention center itself.

My tears freely flowed as I read the walls of the corridors in the vast convention center, known now as Delta Center. Snippets of work from fifty Wisconsin writers are mounted in bas-relief letters on the walls of the public hallways. I paused to read them as I came across them, and took a few pictures of some of my favorites . . . the ones that evoked either a sense of Wisconsin, or touched on the essence of life. I was especially moved by the poetry. It occurred to me that the building itself is worthy of museum designation--as the spirit of the place is deeply reflected throughout.
Here is a sampling, a quote from John Muir (a Wisconsin native) that I loved. I found this prose as profound as poetry. I have typed it out below so you can actually read it.

We all travel the milky way together, trees and men; but it never occurred to me until this storm-day, while swinging in the wind, that trees are travelers, in the ordinary sense. They make many journeys, not extensive ones, it is true; but our own little journeys, away and back again, are only little more than tree-wavings—many of them not so much.     ~ John Muir, The American Wilderness

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