Today I tagged along with a group of 4-6th graders as they participated in a program called “Let’s Go Climb a Moraine”.  The staff naturalist gathered them all at the beginning of the hike and said that he hoped they would remember one important word from the day’s experience.  “Glacier?” they guessed.  No.  CHANGE.  Everything on the planet is changing.  Even the land.  For example, Wisconsin was once underwater at about the equator, back in the days of Pangaea.  The glaciers shaped landforms.  A beaver changes the landscape by chewing down trees and creating dams.  People are making all kinds of changes to the earth as well.  Naturalist Howard also asked the kids, “Why do we bother to study and learn about the earth?  The more we know about the earth, the better we’re able to do what?”  Protect it.  Take care of it.

And change?  Why do we bother to look at change and be aware of it?

So we won’t be so afraid of it, perhaps.

Change is inevitable.  Eventually, everything changes.  Some changes take a long, long time and are not even noticed in a few lifetimes.  Other changes happen in an instant.  Does change make you feel unsettled, anxious, frightened, panicked?  Are you comfortable with change?  Do you delight in change?  “Depends on what the change is.”  Sure.  That’s a fair question, but would you be able to accept every change eventually?  Are there some changes that you would never accept?  What do we teach about change?

New colors on the trees

My children are going to be living quite differently from the way I did.  There is change in the air.  Our economic situation seems like a popcorn kernel about to burst.  Something’s gotta give.  And I think that will be a very good thing.  I think that the older I get, the more open I am to change.  You might say the opposite would be more typical, and perhaps it is, but the longer I live, the more changes I see and the more I get used to change.

Steve really enjoyed our hike and remarked, “My life’s been good to me.”  It made me think of John Denver’s song, “Poems, Prayers and Promises”.

The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it's cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my life's been good to me
There's still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known
I'd like to raise a family
I'd like to sail away
And dance across the mountains on the moon

I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and watch the sun go down

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
What about tomorrow
What about our dreams
And all the memories we share

I’ll always have a place in my heart for Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.

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