Friday, May 22, 2009

One Year Later

One year ago today, inspired by a trip to Italy and a visit to the Pantheon, I wrote my first post on Through the Oculus. If you have been following my architectural musings all along, thank you for your diligence and your readership. If you are visiting for the first time, I hope you will continue to follow along. Either way, please do not be shy to leave me your thoughts or comments.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Kim and I have been "nesting" at home over the past few weeks as we prepare to adopt four children from Brazil. (Read about that adventure here.)  We have been painting, rearranging furniture, getting rid of things we do not need, and acquiring things we do need (apparently you need a lot of beds when you have four children).  We made a "Blitz List" last month of all the things we wanted to accomplish in May to prepare our house to be a proper home for our kids.

Last week, we started cleaning, organizing, and purging the basement, and last night as we continued to work, we came to the corner of the basement with two huge boxes of architectural models from school:  seven years of models, from both Georgia Tech and Yale.  Every time we have moved since coming to New Haven, I have thrown away a couple of architectural models--but we have lived in our house for four-and-a-half years now, and so they have been relatively safe for a time.

If there is anything that the prospect of adopting four kids does, it puts into perspective the things in life that really matter:  my faith and my family.  Kim and I have a hard time with "stuff" in general, and we do actually purge our house from time to time of extraneous items--it is a spiritual exercise as well as a practical one.  But our house has also conveniently afforded us the luxury of storage space over the past few years, though I expect this commodity will be in severe shortage by the end of the summer.

Even so, through moves and "purging," there was always something about my architectural models that kept them hanging around.  Perhaps it was all the care, work, hours, and debt that went into their creation.

One of the definitions that Merriam-Webster gives for "catharsis" is "a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension."  It was a challenge to throw the models away, but I have a feeling it will end up being cathartic.  (To be honest with you, I saved a couple of models:  my first model from Georgia Tech and my last model from Yale.  Call them "bookends" to my academic career if you will.)  They are just things, stuff, objects--and as Kim's Mom frequently reminds us, "people are more important than things."

I suppose it will come as no great surprise, but the kids have been causing me to be distracted lately.  I have been daydreaming a lot and I frequently picture playing with my kids, watching them grow, teaching them, learning from them, piling together in one bed on Saturday mornings with them--and loving them above all else.  In each and every one of these daydreams, however, my architectural models are nowhere to be found...