Change is a wicked savvy thing. It often seems humans spend a fair amount of time trying to stave it off; straining under the weight of the inevitable only to stand (or lay) panting with relief at losing the struggle. It occurs to me that it is a waste to try and fight it. I didn’t used to think so, of course; but, when I consider the level of effort and pain that comes in that hopeless and doomed staving effort, it seems rather silly to me. I find I am more likely to think of effort and strain these days as a kind of budget; a limited quantity of energy that, once spent in life’s choices, is unrecoverable. (The whole ‘history is a ghost’ thing.) I suppose it is the analyst in me that turns more and more frequently to the “cost/benefit” valuation whenever it seems there’s a looming shadow of imponderables and unknowns called “change” rolling toward me.
I find myself looking at it again, which is why I’m writing. It’s fascinating to me that there is always a point at which something once considered without stain is discovered to be far more mundane, more “usual”. Is it the glow of expectation fading, the shift of perspective as one enters the experience rather than standing outside it, or the literal shift of everything around one that results in the sense that the dusky shade of change is once more close at hand?
It doesn’t matter, really, does it? Would it really make a jot of difference to feel certainty as to “why” it arrives? Not like it is open to change, is it? The weight of ripples, expanding; the infinite crossings of one and others and all the actions and choices taken, left, or unknown is as implacable, as monolithic, and as unshiftable as may be imagined.
Or so I find it.
It becomes entirely too tiresome to invest my limited energy in believing that it is other than as it is. Circumstances, people, perspectives, situations, it all changes. What’s the silly paradox? “The only thing that doesn’t change is that everything changes.” Heh.
Life is changing. Were it a machine, I could speak of the great wheels and cogs grinding as they meet and mesh and pit themselves against one another to drive the entire thing forward. Perhaps make some melancholy metaphor likening it to the last sunset of autumn fading into winter. Or compare it to the path of humans; Mewling, stumbling, running, walking, tottering, falling. Have you ever noticed that any time we think about “an ending”, there’s always that pang? Sometimes, only as fleeting and thin as the echo remnant upon a far canyon; sometimes as brash and intense and loud as unexpected thunger, but it’s always there…. the passing; the moment in which something is no longer something, but another thing entirely.
I used to so very afraid of change. It made me feel…. clumsy, unbalanced, unsteady, and afraid. It used to remind me in painful ways that no matter how well I prepare, no matter how well I organize or plan or build contingencies, there was no way I could ever build the list of all possibilities. I used to drive myself damn near mad trying, and in truth, I generally manage a much longer list than most I know because of the experience. Still, no complete and comprehensive certainty in any list; were life, itself, alive, I’m sure it would damn near weep for laughter at how hard I used to try.
Today, as odd as it may sound, change is mostly comfortable. Not always, but mostly. The reflex to start chasing contingencies is more relaxed, the openness to just letting it roll over me is more assimilated, and, frankly, there just isn’t that much that can really drag me off-balance these days. What few things can or do generally only require a day to smooth back to, if not placidity, then at least being easily navigable. Some areas are more manageable than than others, of course. There are still those few things that will spike me like holding a thermometer over a blow torch, but even those tend to settle out nicely (unless I’m foolish enough to maintain exposure to them).
“Porro” is Latin for “next”. It’s transitive, looking forward. As I find I am in this moment. Yes, through the window of my mind’s eye, I can see the glimpse of impending change, there, upon the mental horizon. Hard to say if it’s a storm or a steady breeze. Doesn’t really matter of course, except that I’m curious and yes, a little excited, too. I guess sometimes, the thing that makes dealing with change easiest is just being willing to smile, wave it forward, and have a good set of work gloves handy in case it gets frisky.
Man the backstay, set the centerboard, and raise sail…. regardless what it brings, I reckon I’m no less willing to stare down the vanishing point than ever.