Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Opposite of Change

Think of the opposite of change.

Are you imagining a cozy fire in an ivy-covered cottage, far from the madding crowd? A snug home that keeps the wild world at bay?

A Mayberry-like town where haircuts are a quarter, or maybe just a tavern, where everybody knows your name?

I used to think of our old vacation home, where we'd go every August and every Easter.

My parents had a vacation home in northern California. It sat along a lake, which nestled in hills an hour removed from any of the major freeways. Nearby towns were small and filled with retirees or folks who rented cabins for a few weeks of fishing. The Catholic priest said Mass in the high school gymnasium when he visited each Sunday, and the high school serviced students from as much as forty miles away.

Piers jutted into the lake, some with roofs and rails. A few 19th century homes were falling apart and we collected hand-crafted nails from them. We also rooted around in our yard for obsidian arrowheads. We found them by accident when we dug a pit for fish guts after a productive day fishing. Soon we realized that we could dig just about anywhere and find an ancient campfire about a foot down, with discards and half-completed spearheads.

Idyllic, huh?

As adults, we ached when our Dad sold the place, but 15 or 20 years later my brother stopped by the lake when he had the chance, spent a couple of days, and took pictures.

"Hasn't changed at all," he told me.

"That's great!"

"No, listen to me. It hasn't changed." He paused to emphasize the point. "In all this time, nothing has happened. No one's painted their house or built a new pier. Everything's falling apart. People die and no one buys their home. Yards wither. Stores have gone out of business."

He showed me the pictures. Bait shops and old markets that we remembered were either boarded up or barely surviving in buildings that were more decrepit than ever. Cabins stood abandoned, overgrown with weeds. It was a sad sight, and not a place you'd ever take your family to, not anymore.

I'm happy to report that since that time, wine growers discovered the area and it's become popuar--in a limited way. It's still hours from major freeways and it will never rival Napa, but there are new homes, new retirees, restaurants, and stores.

The point of all this is?

The opposite of change is stagnation.

It's about as idyllic as rot and decay. Hey, even Cheers had to get repainted and order new barstools once in a while.


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Anete Kuree

Anonymous said...

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