First impressions: Reflections on the new digs

The first thing that hit me when I entered the new Common Ground building was the stones. I love the little stones.

I had been in the building several times while it was a work in progress. I was ready for most of it. But if someone told me about those stones, I must have been distracted and it didn’t sink in. What a delightful detail. They are piled up at the foot of the waterfall glass. Then they lead away from the glass towards the meditation hall, like a little river. My first thought was, “Where did they get all those stones, so uniform in size and color?” My next thought: “Where is that river going, anyway?” And then I started daydreaming river noises, and wondering if we could get a real water feature in the Center.

There I was. Distracted again. Devilish little stones.

What first impressions did other people have of the new space?

“You mean after ‘Wow’?” said Patty Martinson. Patty found the entryway’s Japanese paper screen immediately welcoming and the meditation hall calming. “I was worried when we left the old space we would leave behind that accumulated sense of good feelings and centeredness,” she said. “It is all here.”

Greg Olson said the news space is clean, light and spacious, “and you can smell the wood.” (But the parking lot feels small and tough to maneuver.) Joel Grostephen said having more space in the meditation hall seemed to make it easier to concentrate.

Sharon Barnett said when she drives by the new Center she still thinks “Diner” but the inside is more beautiful than she thought it would be. “I like the little touches, the little shelf with the plant. The ripple glass makes me think of water,” she said. “It feels like nature, but ordered.” Lily Thiboutot also noted the details, particularly the beautiful wooden thresholds leading into the meditation hall.

Kenneth Adams worked on the building, pulling nails, painting and mowing. “I just couldn’t believe we were moving in to meditate,” he said. “I was used to it being a construction zone.” Scott Jensen didn’t recall his first impression of the new space, only his second impression. “It’s already filled,” he said. “The spirit of the place is drawing people here.”

Sandy Pierce was one of those new visitors. She came for the first time for a recent Wednesday evening sit and talk. She and her husband used to eat at The Diner, she said. He died two years ago. “It’s funny,” Sandy said. “I was brought back as soon as I stepped through the door. It was comfortable and familiar. I felt a little connected to him. We sat in a booth by the window.”

Sandy reflected on the evening’s lecture on impermanence, the perfect topic, she said. “That Diner was here a long time.”

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