Originally published September, 2018
The local radio station in Seattle 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 sweeping over Seattle, and many other cities.
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
The above is 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.