Shift in Perception

I had occasion this past weekend to visit the center of the country–no not New York or Los Angeles, but Iowa.  Being a hardcore, jaded metropolitan New York area resident, I had preconceived ideas of what I would see and experience there.  I expected small town America–the hayseed variety.  I was wrong and am happy to report that by my barometer, Iowa City, Iowa was sophisticated and charming.

Eastern Iowa as I expected--flat farmland
Eastern Iowa as I expected--flat farmland

I was there for APLD board meetings and didn’t get as much chance to explore as I would have liked.  I missed a planned trip to a prairie restoration project due to airport delays.  I did get to walk a bit each day, passing shops filled with beautiful displays, handmade objects and restaurants.  I also got to stay at a cool hotel and eat at a local restaurant, the Motley Cow,  that specialized in using local ingredients.  I had hoped to sneak away to the Prairie Lights bookstore–but that didn’t happen.

Side street Iowa City
Side street Iowa City
Pedestrian overpass
Pedestrian overpass

A shift in perception and an appreciation for places beyond my immediate geography is a welcome thing.  My creative output requires that my sometimes preconceived ideas are challenged and that I have new ways to think about, view and interpret the world.

7 thoughts on “Shift in Perception

  1. I’m glad you got to see the midwest! 🙂 I grew up in Indiana (the northern, flat 2/3s of the state), and always thought it was beautiful. I get sort of claustrophobic in the mountains and here in southern NC with all of the tall longleaf pines. When you grow up where it is flat, the sky is as much a part of your landscape as anything on the ground.

    What you say about land and sky is so true. I remarked on it while I was there and today, back home am feeling the loss of big sky no matter how beautiful the tunnel of autumn foliage is.

  2. Hi Susan!
    How nice to see someone admit that what they’d thought all along was wrong, all wrong.
    This happens to me all the time. I visited my sister in Des Moines and was similarly charmed. Midwestern college towns have a lot going for them…what a surprise!

    I will freely admit to being a snob. I will also freely admit to being wrong. I hope my ‘filter’ can include a much wider scope of things with each experience.

  3. Sounds like a good trip, if a little too short.

    I’ve yet to travel anywhere in the US that felt across-the-board unsophisticated. It seems you can always find the best of the USA wherever you go. For a while here in central (rural-population about 7,000) PA, I worked in an IT consulting company and could see sheep from the office window. I would happily have put my technicians there along side any I’d worked with in urban businesses.

    It is true about finding the best in people and places. I suspect, working in any IT situation that you probably wished some of your colleagues exile to that sheep meadow too…

  4. What a lovely post. You made Iowans proud I’m sure. The APLD is SO lucky to have you on board.

    I am also lucky to have them. I would probably never have set foot in Iowa if it wasn’t for the board meeting!

  5. Iowa has given us wonderful leaders and lovers of plants. The prairies are beautiful. Other Americans should know more about them.

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