I loved kaleidoscopes when I was a kid.

Every once in a while one would enter into my life for my enjoyment.  I remember getting little ones from toy boxes at the dentist or at the shoe store.  Holding it up to my eye and twisting the little cardboard tube to make the bits of glass inside change colors and shapes was fascinating.

I can’t remember the last time I looked at one.  Then today in the office I was stressing about what picture to take to get back on track with this 365 project.  I was the only one in the building, as it was past 5 and everyone else had gone home.  I walked into the common area and looked up.

In the ceiling is a large domed space with skylights and a real old and ugly light fixture that looks like bowling balls suspended on wires.  In a perfect world, that fixture would not exist.  It really is a tribute to bad taste in interior design.

In fact, and I make no secret about this, the inside of our offices are not what one would call aesthetically pleasing.  I often joke about it with visitors and co-workers alike.  The building was a Savings and Loan at one time, and then the bottom fell out of that market and the S&L went away.  It was bought by the Diocese close to 30 years ago, and even though it has been upgraded in spots, it still retains it’s natural shade of hideous architecture.

The saddest part of the story is that it was built on the spot whence stood the Carnegie Library, a grand old edifice with Greek columns, two stories and real character.  Tragically, the library was torn down to make way for modernization and our tribute to the beauty of pre-stressed concrete construction.

Tonight, however, I looked up with the eye for something different.  I have seen that light fixture thousands of times, but never from the perspective of looking up at it from the laying on the floor.  That’s the advantage of being the last one in the building, as you don’t have to worry about who is looking at you and what they are thinking.

I saw a character in the light fixture and ceiling that I had never seen before.  It was so unique, so monochromatic in the dark interior of the building that it took on it’s own beauty, a beauty that has escaped me all these years.

I always loved kaleidoscopes, and I never thought I’d see one in the ceiling of our building.  Like those old cardboard kaleidoscopes, it’s a wondrous thing to see shapes of things change before your very eyes, even when nothing really changes.


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