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Feather's Miscellany: Change

...We cannot avoid change, try as we may. Darwin pointed it out very painstakingly in his “Origins of Species” and “The Descent of Man”. We are involved completely in change and are part of it, for better or for worse. We ourselves change remarkably in our lifetimes, though we are hardly aware of it; leastways when we are young. Old age is another matter...

John Waddington-Feather’s thoughtful article brings the reassuring thought that we have one refuge from change.

I glanced up from reading the other day and noticed a box of paper tissues left on a bookshelf. It had on it the words: “MEGA VALUE”, and I wondered what my parents would have made of that word ‘mega’. Not much, I guess. It’s a modern word coined from an ancient language, Greek, meaning ‘great, huge’; and it occurred to me that in it lay the whole idea of change, for language like the rest of life is ever-changing. Sometimes it clings onto old words and gives them new life as in ‘Mega Value’; sometimes it coins entirely new words and expressions, neologisms – another bit of Greek.

We cannot avoid change, try as we may. Darwin pointed it out very painstakingly in his “Origins of Species” and “The Descent of Man”. We are involved completely in change and are part of it, for better or for worse. We ourselves change remarkably in our lifetimes, though we are hardly aware of it; leastways when we are young. Old age is another matter.

In Jacques' speech about the Seven Ages of Man in “As You Like It”, Shakespeare catches graphically the physical changes we all undergo through our lives. It’s a speech spoken by a cynic – all doom and gloom at the end. He doesn’t mention any positive changes we may undergo. Certainly, as far as my body is concerned, though it has deteriorated more rapidly than I’d have wished in recent years, I feel I’ve achieved some modicum of wisdom and peace which weren’t there before. I’m more in tune with life spiritually as I near my end; ready for the next mega change, whatever it may be.

Yet we have a refuge from change, especially change we don’t like or can’t keep up with. When modernity begins to overwhelm me, I withdraw into the sanctuary of memory. I wallow in the past, reviving long-dead loved ones with happy memories of yesteryear.

Change may be inevitable, but memory though sometimes lost never changes. It is an integral part of us, inside that part of our minds where we can live peacefully with happy recollections of the past unique to ourselves and which change cannot touch.

John Waddington-Feather ©

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