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Perspective Shift Yields Better Path

I have worked at the Juneau State Office Building (SOB) since 1998. For the past ten years and probably longer, I have walked on my morning and afternoon breaks. On gray and rainy days, I walk from the SOB Snack Bar on the 8th floor down past the public faces of the Alaska State Library, through the sky bridge to the Alaska Office Building, walk that from end to end on the third floor and loop back into the SOB until a few minutes before my break ends. Then I go back to my desk. It’s a pretty firm routine.

When it’s sunny, I almost always walk on Calhoun past the Governor’s mansion and the seemingly endless under construction Choate Residence, then past two more buildings. Then I turn around and go back to the SOB. That takes about 14 minutes. Perfect for my break. I haven’t meaningfully varied that route in ten years. Occasionally I walk in another direction, but if I’m walking down Calhoun, I’ve stayed on Calhoun until it’s time to turn around.

Today I was walking at morning break and finally noticed that from the intersection of Calhoun and Dixon, a sidewalk goes up Dixon. I’m not sure why I hadn’t noticed it all these years – perhaps I was focused on getting as far as possible on Calhoun. So I crossed the street and started walking. Dixon rises at about a 30-40 degree angle above Calhoun. It gave a nice view of the tops of the Governor’s Mansion and nearby buildings. It also gave an unobstructed view of the Kashevaroff Building, the future home of the State Library, Archives and Museum.

Dixon St. had another surprise for me. Once I reached the top of the hill, I noticed a staircase leading down and to the right. At first I thought it was to a residence, but a more careful examination showed that it went down to the street. So I walked down the stairs and found myself back on Calhoun across the street from the Governor’s Mansion. Walking back from the Mansion, I got to my desk about fourteen minutes after I left. A perfect loop with better exercise and a superior view. It was waiting for me until I could shift my perspective from the street in front of me.

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