Change will come, regardless.
Our world changes a little with every season, and every year. We have become a global community with exports and imports and interdependent economies. Grapes from Chili, oranges from Brazil, lumber from the Philippines, oil from Canada, almost everything imaginable from China. We are not the manufacturing nation we once were. Nor are we the agricultural nation we once were with the family farm as the backbone. Huge agribusiness and imports have meant the demise of family farms all over America. Land values have changed, tax bases and environmental restrictions have run up costs for family farmers making them less and less profitable. A lot of young people just don’t want to stay on the farm any more.
I am not a farmer. In fact I don’t even like yard work and gardening. But I live in an area surrounded by beautiful farm country. There are still many family farms around this part of New York, but it doesn’t take a lot of looking to see these farms slowly disappearing, falling into disrepair, or being replaced by developments of housing or shopping or office parks.
When I first moved to New York in the 70’s I had a job driving a delivery van and running a warehouse for a small medical supply company in Rochester. Every week I would take a day to drive to Buffalo, Batavia, and Niagara Falls, and another day to drive to Geneva, Canandaigua, Naples, Penn Yan, and Bath. I got to see a lot of New York farm country through all the seasons and how beautiful this country is. Coming here from Georgia, I had no idea that New York was so rural.
So as the world changes and we are propelled into this global economy, I wonder how long it will take for this to become a very different place from the one I first came to know thirty plus years ago. Change is inevitable. Just as I see the changes in my own face as I get older, or the changes in the Florida coast every time we visit my father-in-law and his wife, New York will change with age.
We look back fondly at the things in our past that impacted us, made a lasting impression, romanticizing and putting a patina on those memories. I suppose we are always wanting to hold on to things as they were just as we want to hold on to our youth and not see those additional wrinkles that appear in the mirror. I got word last month that I’m going to be a great-grandfather. Boy do I feel old. And my knees feel like these rusting trucks sometimes. I think about retirement like most people my age, but figure I have at least nine more years before that’s even a hint of reality and especially with a daughter ready for college in less than two years. Sometimes I just want to put on the brakes, back up the bus. But time is linear and unstoppable, and we all will reach the end. I heard a great quote on Fresh Air the other day. “The saddest thing in life is wasted time.”
Change has no heart, no compassion, no memory. So live it to the fullest. Don’t let a day pass wasted. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If it must come, let’s make it good.
All images are Copyright © George Cannon, all rights reserved.