Vaulting into a New Virtual Dimension

I’d like to contextualize two recent project milestones at CMG within the current climate of working from home and highlight some specific examples that bring definition to many of the catch-words we hear and talk about around ‘collaboration’, ‘communication’, and ‘mentorship’. In this time of physical separation, how we are working together now has been on colorful display.

We are vaulting gracefully into a new virtual dimension, ‘new’ in that we are all here together in this environment of remote work, less ‘new’ in that we are all familiar with the technologies we use to do the work. Rather, I think ‘new’ applies to how we adapt our habits and routines, how we stay in touch, how we continue to be curious, to learn, and most importantly, how we support one another through this abstract dislocation.

Over the past couple of months while we all shelter in place, our teams have been continuing to produce high-quality work while operating in new ways. Underlying this productivity is ‘work ethic’ – “a belief that hard work and diligence have a moral benefit and an inherent ability to strengthen individual character and skill. It is considered a source of self-respect, satisfaction, and fulfillment”. I have seen and felt it in these two passing deadlines, and I hope this is something we all get to experience: the joy and reward of contributing to excellent work.

Oddly enough, although it may seem counter-intuitive, I felt more connected than ever through daily chatter on Microsoft Teams. We all had visibility to one another and a pulse on what everyone was doing. It was easy to check in and stay the course together – whether sharing screens to review a drawing, or a chat to discuss a quick question, or sending a link to a folder where information could be accessed or a final print should be saved – the communication and collaboration was fluid, supple, and conscientious. This created a clear channel for getting things done – staying goal oriented and prioritizing focus. Everyone showed up. Everyone was available and reliable. Everyone brought energy to the work and to one another. A symbiosis. A silver lining.

Perhaps all this is amplified by the challenges of not being physically together (the sound of trace ripping, keyboards clattering, printers sighing, voices humming) – but what I see is how positive people are and the strength shown in embracing the moment. Hardship often reveals character and some of the most stunning examples of dependability, reliability, and initiative have been on display. I am so grateful for the kindness we show to one another, the care we give, the quality of the design produced, and the translation of it through the documentation.

Principal Rayna deNiord

ANTIDOTES TO FEAR OF DEATH
by Rebecca Elson

Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
Already there
But unconstrained by form.

And sometimes it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:

To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.