Friday, January 23, 2009

Nostalgia and Change

OK, so we have our very own, brand spankin' new Funky President elected on a platform of 'Change'. Being contrary to the previous administration and party, very little more than the word 'Change' was all one needed, and it was an easy sell.

I've thought a fair bit about change on the more abstract level recently. Some if it started with something as benign as this: The landmark little Speedway Motel in which I stayed the night prior to one of the Top 10 best days of my life, is being razed. I found it odd how it seems like that day is years ago already. Just scant months beyond my single and greatest encounter with it and this little landmark of 50 years or so is suddenly gone.

In span of just a few months, things have changed alright. I don't know how anyone could argue otherwise. My mother-in-law and I were discussing a recent relative's death and the discovery of this person's diary. How great it was for those left behind to have that insight, that view into the recent and distant past. It allowed me to think of Change and another great memory I have.

Upon my first visit to NYC back in 1997, Lynne and I, in a moment of sheer spontaneity, went from the relative comfort of the glass observation level of the World Trade Center, to the roof observation platform. What I saw there on that gorgeous, sunny June day was truly eye-opening and amazing. The same could not be said for the similar view just one floor below and much less open. To be able to experience that again or to simply return there to relive the memories cannot happen.

People are gone. Places gone. Things gone. The only thing that can survive Change is memory. Curious images, words, and senses of things gone.

I've grown up and currently live in a place where relative little changes over time. Things on the surface seem to be in serious flux, changing rapidly and irreversibly. Logically, I suppose, that must be the nature of change, but it still seems to cause me some trepidation because there are so many cherished things that don't change, often deeply rooted in the past, that seem to pull back against change and make you question why change is so vital.

I guess Change is a universal constant that must always be met.

Change will provide birth, provide destruction, provide opportunity, provide newness, provide the ability to see nostalgia, provide the ability to lose the past, provide us with the never-ending and ever-shifting world in which we live. Change is equally welcomed and feared. Change will allow us as individuals and the collective world to move both for better and for worse.

I now see Change more neutrally. Neither positive nor negative. Equilibrium is the seeking to balance between forces. Nature always seems to seek Equilibrium, yet Change is the unstopping force that actively shifts matter, ideas, people, geography, money, wealth, climates, emotions...

Change is constant. Change is unavoidable. Memories need to be the stuff of forever. Remember and record even the smallest of things. Times and places that provided joy, pain, the greatest of highs, and the most desperate of lows. Jealously guard those memories of all, for better or for worse.

Store it and cherish it for it is our here and now, and, because before you know it, often in the blink of an eye, it will be gone. Do yourself and those who come after us a great service - experience life as it is each day, and when you're done, record it accurately for the benefit of the future.

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