I’m cheating. The purpose of this website has always been to post paintings. But I’ve just made it home from a wild work week out in Illinois, which involved some cumbersome travel, and I’d much rather post some photographs from that instead. But I do promise to post about the project I’ve been working on this year soon (hint: it involves Andrew Wyeth).
Work took me out to Springfield, Illinois, via St. Louis, Missouri, for a tradeshow. I mention St. Louis mainly because it offered me the best of gifts: I was finally able to experience Waffle House. Words cannot describe the ecstasy felt taking that first bite.
On top of the expectation-defying waffles, I got to enjoy some lovely foggy views, which is quintessentially southern in my mind. It was a bit like dining in an Edward Hopper painting.
On our first full day in Springfield, we found ourselves at Drift Wood — a quirky farm-to-kitchen eatery and bar. The latter I found to be much better than the former (excepting the fried cheese curds, which were heavenly) and made my way back there every evening with colleagues and friends. (None of said colleagues and friends are pictured below sadly.)
A perfect way to unwind after a hectic day in the expo hall. And every cocktail was a thing of beauty.
As has become my tradition for work trips, I only half-ass any sightseeing. This worked out brilliantly in Springfield as I had to walk past Lincoln’s home on my way to get coffee each day. Honest Abe seemed liked a nice chap. And his finger pointing felt very presidential.
The week was charged with a lot of emotions as I navigated challenging work dynamics and trying colleagues, but it was also a trip that reminded me of some hard-earned truths: avoid assigning motive and be patient in forming an opinion. While simply stated, it can feel nearly impossible in practice.
As with most things, anxiety can add another layer of difficulty to any task, and I think one of the defining characteristics of (my) anxiety is that it makes me impatient. Logically, this is because I’d like to get out of my anxious state as quickly as possible, so I often beg off or duck out early. However, I found the benefit of sticking around this trip. If I’d given into my itching flight reflex, I’d have missed out on some amazing experiences and the joy of making an immediate, authentic connection with someone new.
To wrap up this rambling, I’ll leave you with two lines from The Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley that I finished on my flight out that seem quite fitting now: “Patience, to a point, provides choice…” and “fate loves slight miscalculations.”
Until next time!