As now, when next door the tall pine trees I have, during 15 years of looking through a tall window next to my desk, begin to disappear. One, during the time it took to take two sips of coffee, close my Facebook page, and start typing this. The house next door, a one-story brick built in the fifties, will be next to go. Hazel’s husband, the last of three, was rolled in his wheelchair to a waiting van months ago, she herself having died.
A throbbing motor of some kind is pounding the softer horns of Copeland’s “Tender is the Land.” How ironic, when beyond a glass pane, strip of grass, and unseen driveway, the land is being sundered by tree surgeons.
A more personal kind of change confronts me in days when my wife and I travel to Connecticut. A fiftieth prep school reunion of people who will be, for the most part, unrecognizable. Living far from Houston, where they’ve gathered, if not annually, more frequently than this first and only for me reunion, they will wonder who the heck I am. Except for Tony, of course. He’s the reason we’re going, my other best friend is hiding out in New Hampshire after two divorces and a professional indiscretion that cost what had been a successful career in finance. But even Tony will be different, he’ll have lost some of his hair, as I have. His he used to comb while standing in front of my mirror, ignoring my more introverted roommate, most memorably while describing the girl he would fix me up with in Pleasantville, New York, when we went to stay with his parents. No driver back then, like the one he’s arranged to pick my wife and I up at LaGuardia and drive us to his place in central Connecticut, where we’ll play golf, drive down to Hartford the followng morning and play more golf before going to the school. A lot of golf for people our age, Tony who used to run the 440 like a deer. Me who played tennis. The doubles with my friend, alone now in New Hampshire. His job won’t let him be away, he’s said. Sad. At times like this, while the trees disappear next door, I think of change, how it weathers us, and begin to wish, to wonder. To stay the same, what would that be like? Would we tire of being young? As we tire of being old. Questions I don’t have an answer to, wish I did, and could, if I wanted to, change, be who I once was, for a while anyway. Say, the time it takes to build a new house, a more than one-story one.