“If you fear change, give it to me.”
There’s a guy who panhandles on the corner of North Broadway and North Vancouver Avenue in northeast Portland. His message, written on a piece of cardboard, seems to work. Well, it did for me last week.
Change is something I’ve become acquainted with over the past few months. Despite the common advice to remake and remodel, to constantly develop and progress, it’s not something that comes naturally to most people. I include myself.
A friend recently pointed out, however, that leaving a place or a job (and, in the process, a state of mind) is the only way to grow. A couple of months ago my wife and I did both, relocated to relocating to Portland, Oregon from Dublin, Ireland.
The journey’s been like nothing before. We are learning a new city, a new (to me) culture, job and apartment hunting. Some days it’s a natural fit, others demand a doubling down on resolve. But the change has come.
And so I’ve put together a short playlist with two intersecting themes – change and American popular music.
All the songs contain some trace or theme of change, from the social (Buffalo Springfield) to spiritual (Nina Simone) to the local (Cisco Houston’s version of a song Woody Guthrie wrote when he lived here in 1941).
Elsewhere there’s personal development (a track from Miles Davis’ Birth Of The Cool sessions), a scorched-earth new start (courtesy of a Louis Armstrong solo) and a simple call for contentment from Elliott Smith.
And what better way to end it all than the famous largo from Dvořák’s ninth symphony, ‘From the New World’, the composer’s musical testament to America – a composition of progress, hope and, above all, change.