A Cacophony of Change
Summer is coming to a close. This is the last weekend of the solar season, and soon the deciduous leaves will begin to show their colors, the tourists will clog our mountain roads, and the last of the (local) warm-weather veggies will disappear from the farm stands. But this change is a harbinger of far more than our planetary wobbly orbit; it seems everywhere I look, things are in flux, and that’s a good thing.
My four-legged shadow has recently become overly clingy. Since my wife and I separated (and she took the other dog, Betsy), Sebastian has decided that he NEEDS to be with/next/touching me 24/7, and his obsession is manifesting itself in uncomfortable scenarios. I find it exceedingly difficult to go anywhere without him, and I guess the crux of my new decision was the other day when I ran into Ingle’s (grocery store) to buy some wine. I was gone from the truck for less than five minutes, but by the time I picked up a bottle of Merlot and headed towards the checkout, there was a Public Address announcement of a dog in apparent distress in the parking lot. Now, the only distress that Sebastian was experiencing was his desire to be with me inside the store. But that embarrassing episode led to my consideration of a situational solution. After seeking the counsel of several friends, including Bubba’s groomer, I have decided that this weekend we are going to look for another four-leggedcompanion to occupy at least some of his attention. It will, of course, mean taking on the added expense of both time and money, but an energetic and accommodating Playmate is something this household needs, but alas, I will have to settle for a new doggy.
This was the first summer that Sebastian and I were essentially alone. Yes, we each have our own set of visitors who come regularly to play and keep us company, but since last fall we have been on our own. I did receive an email the other day from my ex giving me the heads-up about a process server who would be visiting. It seems she has decided we are going to formally and legally end our marriage; the actual cessation happened a long time ago. I wish I could feel something other than complete ambivalence about the end of a long marriage, but I harbor no anger, no sadness, no celebratory joy, no anything actually; it is nothing more than a change in the season.
In the midst of this, I reached a pinnacle of frustration over my pseudo-smart phone’s reluctance to sync my email. The anniversary of my contract allowed for the more than needed upgrade that would permit me to be away from my computer, yet still be reachable. Since I do almost all of my shopping online, I logged on to the Verizon website to shop and compare. As I made my selection, I realized that there was a minor complication. Ten years ago when “we” established our North Carolina cellphone account, somehow the “account owner” was designated as my wife. In spite of the fact that I pay the bills (and have agreed to that into the future), and all correspondence comes to me via email, Verizon wanted to ship my new phone to the registered Florida address where Shirle lives. I attempted to resolve the situation with an online chat, but the CSR was completely ignorant of the problem insisting that I could buy the phone and then call to have a Customer Service Representative change the address. “Hello, you are a customer service representative, why can’t you just change it now?” My fuse was a tad shorter than usual, so I abruptly disconnected and drove the 10 miles to the local Verizon store where an intelligent representative not only understood, but was able to complete the transaction, even helping me find a phone that was more situated to my needs than the one I had picked out online.
An interesting aside: As the Verizon salesperson and I were concluding the sale and transfer of my data and contacts to my new DROID MAXX, she laughed and said, “Look at that, you just bought the exact same phone, color and all, as your wife did last month.” Sheesh!
Change is upon us, the days are growing shorter, the temperatures are moderating, the first of the stinkbugs have begun to appear (which means the Ladybugs are not far behind), and the forest orchestra has begun its percussive beat dropping a variety of acorns, walnuts, chestnuts and hickory nuts in nature’s syncopated rhythm. The squirrels and chipmunks are busy gathering the energy rich treats to stow for the coming winter, while the crisp mountain air reverberates with the sound of chainsaws harvesting deadfall for its comforting warmth in the colder months. I have replaced my summer wardrobe of hats with the more durable leather and wools, and my short-sleeved shirts have already begun their hibernation. The inevitability of change is unstoppable.
If you suspect there is melancholy in my words, fear not; I came to these mountains because of the seasonal alterations. I lived a quarter century in Florida where nothing changes to a noticeable extent. I enjoy living where the nature that surrounds me, morphs in regulated intervals and continually surprises me with its ever-changing kaleidoscopic views of color and beauty. Yes, change is in the air in many ways, and time does indeed march on. What was once, is no longer; what is now, cannot be changed; and what will be, is the surprise of the future. In spite of its requisite disappointments and unavoidable sadness, life is anything but boring if you take the time to wonder at, rejoice and exploit those changes. Your mind will revel in gratitude, for without change, we would have no memories.