Living in Society Social Commentary

Everything is Changing

Structure Fire
Structure Fire

We look up from the grindstone and notice everything has changed. When did that happen?

Most often it’s climate—torrential storms that ripped through the yard, knocking down trees and branches—but it is more than that.

It may the human condition: a long walk to our worldly end—replete with biological aging, physical ailments and the like. It’s not only that.

We have milled life’s bounty and used it, only to find that the wheat berries, oats and corn we like have all changed from abundance to scarcity. We make bread from the flour, but it no longer sustains us.

Bit by bit, we are confronted with changes we didn’t expect.

I don’t visit John’s Grocery much, but this story about Wally the Wine Guy is just one of several about the changes in that neighborhood where I briefly lived after graduate school. He moved to a new gig in the downtown grocery store after 26 years at John’s.

I like some of the changes in downtown Iowa City: the tall buildings in the pedmall with high-end apartments, the constant bustle of businesses opening then closing, the proliferation of student housing that can make landlords a tidy sum and keep downtown populated.

Other changes not so much, particularly the demise of Murphy-Brookfield Book Store, and what is now a struggling Riverside Theatre that gave up Shakespeare in the Park because for three of the last six years, they were flooded out in City Park, resulting in reduced attendance and a financial loss. Something’s changing and it’s not just that people are aging, although that’s part of it.

Wally went corporate is how I read the story. He might as well if the deal is sweeter and the opportunities to service a new clientel more profitable. Can’t blame him for that, and as I said, I don’t frequent John’s Grocery much. They already have plans for a replacement.

We must adapt to change as we can. We don’t have to like it, although we should look up from our work and notice— from time-to-time.