Of course I would like a tour of the professional space in which my children or my sister live. I’m flattered that they ask. After all, I get a glimpse of a side of their lives I’ve only heard about in snippets.
My body slows with the open door. I want to take it all in, the sights, the explanations, the impressions, the stories. On one tour, I focus on an open, collegial environment and the components in development on the desk. I even get to play with some prototypes. In another city and another space, I take in a design room with three stations festooned with the inhabitants’ familiars—a bobble-head doll, some photos of family and friends, a fleece to mitigate the ventilation system. I feel at home here. I could make myself comfortable on the sofa beside the door, as I suspect many people do, and chat for a bit, if there would be time in the busy schedule. A year later, during a third tour, I hear threads of dialogue from drama majors rehearsing on the stairs of the gallery while visual arts students set up displays. I hear a trio practising outside in the courtyard, and I notice that maintenance workers are preparing the amphitheatre for a performance. The tour ends with a look at the graduate students’ residence, and my orientation is complete. Just a few months ago, I meet many of my sister's colleagues and wander through the office. At the end of each of those visits, I feel satiated.
Why are these tours so important to me? It must be that each one has its own energy that people I love are assimilating, and that I want to tap into to get to know them better. Furthermore, each workplace is situated in a different city, west, east and south. The energy the spaces exude forms my own personal ley lines connecting me with my family. After the workplace visits, I can imagine the group conferences, design feedback sessions, rehearsals, or meetings. I can visualize situations they might describe, and that strengthens my connection to them.
I’d never thought of those connections as energy conduits, as my own horizontal ley lines soldering me to my children or my sister. It’s the lore around the ley lines connecting the Tor at Glastonbury with Stonehenge that synapsed with images of me on the same site as key historical figures, from the seat on Rosa Parks’ bus to the gardens of Mackenzie King’s summer home at Kingsmere to St. Francis’ Chapel and Shakespeare’s birthplace, and that then prompted the leap to my children’s lives. From the Tor to the tours, I guess.
And the upshot of all this? Simply this: in shared experience resides power for understanding, and with understanding comes acceptance and peace.