Thursday, April 18, 2013

Change or decay?

We've been driving by this poor decrepit building several times a day as we wear the path between homestead, supply stores, and hotel. And each time my husband, who has his own way of processing grief, tells me again that it was his father's plant, back in the day.

Coming from the northwest, so much of which has been built in the last fifty years, I keep being surprised by how comfortable the local residents --in a reasonably affluent neighborhood-- seem with the decaying buildings, the potholed roads, and the run-down stores; I wonder if, like a long-married couple, they just don't see the ravages of time in the familiar.

... And perhaps that's not a bad thing? They also seem less concerned with appearances and more attuned to nuances of ethics, behavior, and community. Since that's something I see in myself as I age, I wonder if that whole drift away from the seen to the unseen (and I can ask this since I know the majority of you, my readers, are over 45), is a natural function of maturity, an evolution rather than anything to be proud of.

Which should mean older civilizations than ours should also be wiser, which doesn't always seem to be true. There are civilizations, just as there are people, and religions, who get stuck; caught defending the rightness of what they know instead of continuing on the steady path of growth and change. And, like this plant, which made propellers -- or stores that developed film, or rented videotapes --getting stuck, not changing, often results in decay...

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