The Beautiful Changes
One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.
The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.
Your hands hold roses always in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.
— Richard Wilbur, The Beautiful Changes
Emotionally, logically even, I’ve come back to my home recently. I never left, really, but it feels more like home as we’ve spruced up the place during the pandemic. We strayed in our minds a few times, seeking more adventurous living, yet we always return to this place. That blanket of familiar is comforting, even as it acts as a foundation for more adventurous acts. Blankets might feel suffocating at times, if we feel that our whole life is encumbered beneath. But isn’t that blanket simply our identity? We are what we surround ourselves with. That in turn and time either feels right or it doesn’t. The choice was ours all along. And so it will be.
We each enter into long relationships that evolve over time. Live with someone for a few decades and you join the club of understanding. The same can be said for the very place we live as well. The landscape changes as the community changes. The very homes we live in change too, as things and people and pets come and go from our lives, and as we ourselves grow older. Life is change. Change can be untenable or wonderful, sometimes at the very same time.
We each write our stories, choosing what to add or edit out of that hero’s journey. Characters come and go, the scenes change, so too does the author. Everything changes over time, and we live with these changes or reject them. To think we can control anything but our reaction to change is folly. But we can wrap ourselves in our identity, and let this be our guide as we face whatever comes next. Sometimes that next is beautiful.