Watch with glittering eyes around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in the magic will never find it! – Roald Dahl

A Starry Starry Sign

I’ve spent years recycling. I’ve spent 3 semesters fretting over everything I learned in my sustainability graduate program about the volatile condition of Mother Earth. Now, I’ve spent months sticking my foot in every door I could find a crack in – or cracking doors open myself – to turn my passion for the environment into a career move.

When I walked into Chris’s office, I knew I was right where I needed

to be. He had a print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night on his wall.

My son – my darling 7 year old son – taught me everything I know about true love, true happiness and the true reason I’ve worked so hard for everything I have accomplished. His first grade art teacher (God bless her!) taught the kids about Vincent Van Gogh. As seven year olds do, he got stuck on this particular subject. Right now, he’s stuck on the Titanic, but last fall, it was Vincent Van Gogh. It seemed that every picture he drew was some rendition of a Van Gogh painting. Every time he got in the car, when I was a captive audience, we would talk about art class, Vincent Van Gogh, and his favorite painting, Starry Starry Night as he calls it. He was so taken by this stuff, that as a surprise, I took him to the St. Louis Art Museum to see all the Van Gogh paintings. He told me the next day that it was one of the coolest surprises he ever had. While he’s only seven, I still took that as an opportunity to buff my knuckles and bask in being the cool mom who loves her kid and exposes him to a little bit of refined culture every now & again.

Needless to say, seeing the “Starry Starry Night” print on the wall of this senior manager (who I shamelessly reminded about a series of training courses I helped give many of his employees a couple years ago…you know, as a way to get some face time with him) was a direct message to me that this conversation was a ray of sunshine in my life and in my career, just as my son is in my heart. The convo got better when he excitedly explained to me the efforts going on across the site to improve energy…BAM! Improve water usage…BAM! Decrease waste…BAM! My eyes lit up and my excitement for work was suddenly renewed. I’m pretty sure the last words I said as I left his office were “Well sir, I’m the girl for that!”

So, when I walked in to the first “environmental project” meeting he invited me to and saw another print of Starry Night on the wall, you could have knocked me over with a recycled feather. (Do they recycle feathers? Anyway….I digress…which I do, a lot…)

All I could think was This is it. This is where it’s at. I’m finally making the right moves, the right connections. This is really gonna happen!

I must have had a childlike “I’m gonna get dessert after dinner” look on my face as the team talked through the background of the project, showed a slideshow of results to date and started doling out action items. I’m pretty sure I was salivating, but since I walked over to the meeting from another building, it probably could have passed as sweat. I’m also pretty sure it isn’t very professional to jump up & down & squeal, so I kept that urge under wraps. Barely.

The tour was almost more than I could take. Now we weren’t just talking about what we might do or could do or would like to do…we were doing something! Plans were made, deadlines were set. Boxes were moved. Agreements were made. I just couldn’t wait to see how I could get my happy little hippie hands on something fun to do! Promising to send one email doesn’t sound like much, but to me, it sets the cogs in motion.


art from the heart

My son’s rendition of van Gogh’s The Bedroom

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