Catching Change; It Always Stays the Same

The local radio station is playing in rotation a song called “Gold Rush”. While the band, Death Cab for Cutie, explains it’s about a romantic break-up, it’s clearly a eulogy for what is being lost in the current development tsunami overtaking Seattle.

digging for gold in my neighborhood
for what they say is the greater good
but all I see is a long goodbye
a requiem for a skyline
it seems I never stopped losing you
as every dive becomes something new
and all our ghosts get swept away
it didn’t used to be this way

That’s an excerpt. It’s happening everywhere. Change in cityscapes, towns and the countryside is inevitable. Castles crumble and their stones used to build manor homes. Leavings of centuries of dwellings reappear underneath already ancient cities.

It’s the rate of change that’s hard to take. Is it faster than it used to be?

While waiting for my eyes to dilate, I had a chat with my optometrist. He grew up in a California town not far from the one I grew up in. When I think about that town, I think, “that town isn’t there any more.”

It’s how the universe is set up. Movement. Change. Children grow. Nothing remains the same. It’s as if the universe is eating itself up—and when one eats, there is always transformation into something else.

As I write this, I just realized that some things do stay the same.

Books. Art. And music.

You can read the same book over and over, and the ending doesn’t change, the characters dependably say the same things, no one ages, and the setting is always the way it was the last time you opened it.

Art may have a harder time of it. The Venus de Milo will never get her arms back. Restoration specialists make good money finding the exact color match needed to bring oils back to their original sheen.

I can listen to Hendrix’ “All Along the Watchtower” any time I want and it always sounds the same—the guitar never wavers, the beat is steady. And the song I’ve quoted above will always be about change, without being affected by change itself.



About Jill Zeller

Author of numerous novels and short stories, Jill Zeller is a Left Coast writer, 2nd generation Californian, retired registered nurse, and obsessed gardener. She lives in Oregon with her patient husband, 2 silly English mastiffs and 2 rescue cats—the silliest of all. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination are as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison


Catching Change; It Always Stays the Same — 2 Comments

  1. I don’t mean to suggest that my experience is universal (and might be idiosyncratic) but I have discovered that my engagement with books, or music, or anything, changes–sometimes so fundamentally that they seem different books, music, etc.

    The common phrase these days for books is that the Suck Fairy visited it–when you reread a once much loved book and discover flaws so egregious you can’t read it anymore. It is the same text, but an utterly different book experience.

    That can go the other way, a book one encountered perhaps in the wrong mood, or too young, that on rereading becomes wonderful, and deeper with each succeeding read.

    Music changes as well, evoking past experiences when I listened to the piece a lot. All those old emotions rush back. Or a piece can change. You bring up Jimi Hendrix. Now when I listen to him, it’s my son and his band I think of, whose music is in conversation with Hendrix and his peers.

    • So true. The books stay the same, but the reader is not the same reader she was the first time through. Experiences shape-shift us constantly.