Tuesday, May 28, 2013

That will (not) change everything.

We went to "the Cape," this weekend, which is what people who frequent Cape Cod call Cape Cod. One moment on the Cape and you know why its abbreviated appellation is ok. There are many capes in the world. But only Cape Cod deserves the terse and imperative "the Cape."

It's a magical and unspoiled place. Some measure of modernity has creeped in--there is fast food now and big box stores. But if you stay on the sea-side of the big roads all you see is a gentle, easy-going place that doesn't reek of today.

Whiskey and I took a short walk on a stony beach while my wife was waiting for take-out lobster rolls. There were crab shells everywhere--honestly killed by birds not pollutants and there was a type of mossy-green seaweed that looked like a mermaid's hair. When I was not removing crab shells from Whiskey's craw, I was scanning the sea-scape for mermaids.

If I found one, long and luscious like those on an old sailor's forearm, I'm sure my wife would understand. A man has needs, and no one knows that better than a mythical half-woman/half-fish.

For the past three Memorial Days, the Cape has been home to a modest family reunion.With my daughters separated from us and each other by an entire continent, we used the lure of the Cape's best hotel to bring us all together. Once reunited, we revel in our love and togetherness. We hang out by the too-cold pool and walk up to our ankles in the too-cold sea. We lobster roll and clam bake and laugh and love.

This year Hannah, my younger daughter, was 9,000 miles away, but she joined us numerous times via the magic of Skype and though distance interfered our laughter and love was not lessened or dismayed.

There are pundits in our industry--in most industries, I suppose--who seem to make a living proclaiming "this will change everything." As if being able to wear glasses that give directions and take photographs are a good and welcome thing.

And of course, a lot has changed in the world and continues to change. Even family dynamics (Hannah in New Zealand) changes things, as does the presence of Whiskey, who was just a gleam in our puppy-loving eyes last year at this time.

Change is all around us as ubiquitous as bad grammar on the internet. It's pernicious and unstoppable. Fighting against change is like King Canute trying to hold back the tides a millenium ago. I know from my short walk that that's impossible, even against the infant waves on my part of the Cape.

I suppose something will come along someday and will really change everything, and maybe that change will be good. Maybe we will be able to 3-D fax Hannah in from New Zealand, have cars whose exhaust is nothing but rose petals. Maybe the brotherhood of man will prevail and we will beat our swords into plowshares--or smart phones.

But for me, some times, the best change is no change. It's a family together with friends. It's barbecuing. It's lobster rolls and soft ice cream and a tired puppy in the back seat.