I’ve been meeting quite a few new folk around town lately, since joining a couple of clubs that have me socializing somewhat more than usual. My running group affords me up to an hour and a half, sometimes more of visiting time and one of the questions many newcomers have for me is “so, how do you feel about all the changes happening in Pemberton-all us newbies?”
Typically my answer is tinged by a conversation I had years ago with my mom who had been asked the same question. She said, “I welcome the change. It means the town is growing and that there will be more opportunities and more commerce. When we moved here in the early fifties, you had a heck of a time getting much of anything.”
If she could feel that way having lived here when you really could get to know pretty much everyone, then I can squelch that urge to install a large gate at the entrance to town on which hangs a “no vacancy” sign.
Besides, I’ve yet to find a way to stop anything from changing.
At lunch today, with a group of seniors, some of whom are newcomers themselves, I chatted with an old friend about change. I wanted to talk about an article I’d read that bemoaned the disappearance of “wild” words such as fern, acorn and blackberries from a children’s dictionary. How sad it seems to imagine kids growing up not knowing of ferns and such. “Oh, well,” I said, “I guess languages are always changing anyways.” To which he replied with a quote from Euripides, a philosopher and playwright who lived about 480bc: All is change; all yields its place and goes. We agreed that the word yield was a good choice-not violent or wrenching, just calm and cooperative.
And all the while he may have thought I was paying attention to what he was telling me about the changes that have taken place in The Great Lakes, I was also contemplating the transitions that have occurred in our relationship. Back in the seventies, he drove the bus that transported me to high school. He became my running idol, pacing up the valley before anyone else even considered such a concept. In the eighties and nineties I taught his kids. My husband and I went camping with him and his wife; we shared dinners and stories; we talked books and fishing and we reminisced. We grew close enough to have a philosophical conversation about the nature of change on a Friday afternoon in our hometown and to concur on the meaning of yield. (PS, Hugh-I did listen to most of what you said about the Great Lakes.)
Back home, I checked the definitions and synonyms for yield, as its initial connotation for me was positive. Of course, to yield also means to give up, to surrender, to give way. Which definition to choose, which one to choose? If Euripides is right, everything is changing, so I might as well draw comfort from the fact that I have a choice in the first place.
Out on the trails, I spy a lady fern, unfurling, yielding to the forces that propel it skyward when perhaps these cool mornings might keep it tightly curled and unchanged. At the nature centre, youngsters roam the ferny woods, learning the names of the plants and animals in English and in Ucwalmícwts. They will know what blackberries and otters and ferns are while learning what online and blog and download mean. Like me and my friend, they will also yield, eventually, to something unstoppable.