Even in the dim light of the streetlight, I can see the even edge along the sidewalk where one of our maintenance staff has trimmed the turf. Noticing that in my stroll to the parking lot where my truck sits in the chill of this fine autumn evening, I think about the rest of the campus.
In the nook between the wings of Galle-Johnson, on the hidden west side, there is an oasis of pattern and color. Plants grow beside the stone, a sort of patio built with table and benches, a place to sit on a warm day, away from the crowd. All sorts of plants grow here in the growing months, requiring regular attention and care to keep what is both visually and physically pleasing a pleasant place.
In other places, beside entrances, at intersections of streets and sidewalks, careful plantings add accents and interest. Vines, shrubs, flowers and bushes make what could be nothing but bare lawn and buildings something far more refreshing. At the east entrance of the Brown Center, small trees, roses and other plants fill in the spaces between sidewalks. A careful collection of small statues depict various arts. In one place stands a young man in bronze, standing with a violin tucked against his chin, bow held in a relaxed arm, tucked behind one leg. Not far away, a young girl seems to be dreaming over a book. The effect of these and the other sculptures is both tasteful and invocative, inviting and indicative of the purpose of this building, which houses a remarkable theatre, large meeting space and learning spaces including small rooms for music lessons.
All of these things require constant care and attention, a tending to detail and pride in both image and substance. In addition to all the work our maintenance members do to keep us warm and well, with both personal and professional needs met, they help provide an atmosphere that is inviting and pleasant.
After a good night’s rest, I sit here in the growing light of this good morning, looking out my window at the white columns and red brick retaining wall in the near courtyard and the neatly trimmed bushes alongside the opposite building. I am grateful to be in this place and grateful for others whose work may be often taken for granted but it has not gone unnoticed.
To those here who do such work and do it so well, and to those in a thousand other places who do the same, I bid God’s good blessing. And perhaps we could be a part of the blessing should we make the time to tell them, “Thank you for making our part of this world a better place to be.” Even Jesus enjoyed the occasional gratitude of both strangers and friends.