Last Friday morning, I met with three of my colleagues over at Holton, just under an hour’s drive from Highland. They’d driven over from Wamego, about the same amount of time from the opposite direction. All of us drove a bit more cautiously than usual, owing to the bit of freezing rain that came the evening before. The roads were generally clear, owing more to the salt trucks than to the drab skies above us.
Every now and then, though, the sun would shine through a break in the clouds and then what a fine spectacle would show. The tips of branches, sheathed in ice, glowed like spikes of magnesium. At just the right angle, with the sun just behind me, the reflections were so bright, the branches seemed tipped with intense lights. When I looked low but toward the sun, I saw a frozen sea of grass, colors caught perfectly in the coating glass. Hints of orange, splotches of beige, slight tints of copper and bronze, patches of taupe, all fused together in a mass of prairie tones and textures.
Then, the clouds would slip together and the cold day’s drab would lower around us again.
After spending an hour discussing how to proceed with our institutional improvement project, my associates and I drove over to Boomer’s restaurant for lunch. While we waited, while we ate and for a while later, we talked. We talked about jobs and family, trips and travels, hobbies and habits. There were but one or two hints of darkness, a few friendly digs and a lot of laughter. Within an hour, we’d seen and shared more of each other than we would have known in a month of meetings.
Though we certainly learn about each other in the formal functionings of our work, it is in these other moments that friendships are formed. The truly wise will create such opportunities for themselves and others. They may not inherit the workplace but they will gain other benefits. They will be blessed and they will be blessing to those around them.