Life is one big transition — Willie Stargell
What the late, great Pittsburgh Pirates slugger knew, so knew the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, the Buddha and Andy Warhol. Whether we recognize it or not, accept it or not, change is always hovering nearby.
We can try to outrun it — human instinct isn’t to embrace it — but change never loses the race. Usually, it overtakes us, silently, and we acknowledge the transformation only in the past tense, when our interior or exterior landscape has been altered enough to notice.
Sometimes, change leaps heavy and hard upon us and slams us to the ground, leaving no doubt that, from now on, life is going be very, very different. After such a tackle (or mugging), the stealthy, silent sort of change often follows, like aftershocks from an earthquake.
In the past year, I have experienced some NFL-quality tackles — good and bad. Life has been turned upside down so many times, I’ve pretty much abandoned the hunt for solid ground. It all reminds me of the Scottish poet Anne Grant, who wrote, “Confusion is the hallmark of transition. To rebuild both your inner and outer world is a major project.”
Grant lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and she was speaking specifically of the way grief plunges a person into “an unknown territory,” in which “you might feel both helpless and hopeless without a sense of a ‘map’ for the journey.” I know that territory better now than ever before. I lost my mother six months ago, her absence leaving a void that will never be filled. I also lost a couple of important relatives last year and an inordinate number of good friends who had yet to live out their deserved time in the sun.
In a few months, I will lose my beloved church, St. Ann’s. On May 20, its life as a parish will end, another casualty of the changes in the Roman Catholic Church. Until then, our grieving process as parishioners will coincide with our celebration of St. Ann’s long, productive life.
Like many of my neighbors on the west and north sides of Terre Haute, I lost my sense of safety and serenity among the tall oaks and other old trees that canopied our homes and streets. A swift, ferocious straight-wind on May 25 made kindling of the leafy centenarians and has transformed the sound of anything stronger than a gentle breeze into an on-switch for post-traumatic stress.
Life is one big transition — Willie Stargell
- Stephanie Salter
STEPHANIE SALTER: The more things change, the more they … change
What the late, great Pittsburgh Pirates slugger knew, so knew the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, the Buddha and Andy Warhol.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Making room for the least among us — and their kin
Christmas. Quiet time. Down time. Not exactly the kind of day most folks tend to contemplate their fellow Americans behind bars. And yet, the United States leads the world in percentage of population in jail or prison, far ahead of second-place Russia. About 2.3 million people — nearly one in 100 adults — are incarcerated in this country.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Carols for the worn, weary and wigged out
For those who are agog and aglow with “the season” — you who start bouncing and humming in Toys R Us at the intro guitar notes of “Jingle Bell Rock” — better search elsewhere for a soul mate.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Times change. Things disappear. Toilet paper here to stay
You may have seen an email going around with “Nine Things That Will Disappear in Our Lifetime.”
STEPHANIE SALTER: What I learned on election day
When I identified myself as a volunteer for the non-incumbent mayoral candidate, the woman on the other end of the line cut me off. “Save your breath, dear,” she said.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Of politics, protests, coupons and e-wishes
It’s roundup time again, that periodic hunting down and herding together of items that have but one thing in common: They grabbed me.
STEPHANIE SALTER: ‘Understandable’ not the same as ‘wise’
Because I’m not running for office and don’t plan to, I figure I am free to publicly question the designation of some 30 stretches of city streets as “memorial ways” for police and firefighters killed on the job.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Where have all the protest songs gone?
A telling moment came during the annual Eugene V. Debs award banquet late last month, when the career protest singer and songwriter, Anne Feeney, implored a huge Hulman Center audience to join her for the refrain of “We Shall Not Be Moved.”
STEPHANIE SALTER: It’s business as usual, but what does it cost to stay angry?
As painful and profoundly sad as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has been, I found the actual day a balm.
STEPHANIE SALTER: The unfortunate bottom line … St. Ann’s will close
Ever since word came down that St. Ann Church and Parish have less than a year to live, there’s been much invoking of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief.
STEPHANIE SALTER: The Economy: One complex, thorny, bedeviling issue
No matter how much time and energy I spend trying to understand the Hydra we blithely call “The Economy,” I often worry that its mystery will forever elude me.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Thinking, now and then, about now and then
I am lying, poolside, in a plastic chaise lounge, listening to pop music and watching water droplets dry on my skin.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Thousands of things she would have missed
For several years, until she received an official information packet in the mail, my mother planned to donate her body to medical research.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Marriage? There’s an app for that ... but it’s tricky
As I watched all the happy people celebrating passage of New York’s same-sex marriage law, I couldn’t help but project to a time when Indiana adopts a similar statute.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Back in the saddle — with the usual burr under it
I really didn’t expect to be gone nearly six months, but then, that’s par for the course these days: What I expect to happen and what actually occurs are often about 180 degrees apart.
STEPHANIE SALTER: On the other hand … we’ll have a lot fewer leaves to rake
Editor’s Note: Former Tribune-Star Assistant Editor Stephanie Salter’s column resumes today in freelance form and will appear on this page every other Sunday.
TERRE HAUTE — My neighbor, Andy, had just lowered the bamboo blinds on his front porch when we heard a mournful sound.
This was about as much fun as a doubleheader split could get for Rose-Hulman’s baseball team.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Another batch of my status-quo-defending misinformation on schools
The day after state schools chief Tony Bennett responded to my three-column education series, a longtime friend and veteran teacher called.
“I just read the superintendent’s rebuttal in the Tribune-Star,” my friend said. “All I can conclude from it is that you are a dumbass. Welcome to the club. Anybody who doesn’t buy into his vision of education reform is considered a dumbass.”
Stephanie Salter: One person’s roundup of significant folks lost in 2010
Every late December, as I comb through lists of notable deaths, I swear I will never repeat the process. It takes days of Internet research, mostly because I get distracted by looking up people about whom I know nothing.
Stephanie Salter: I've got some really good news for some of you guys
Of all the sentences I’ve imagined writing in my long, moss-covered newspaper career, this is not one of them: I am quitting my job to get married.
Stephanie Salter: A little history of mandated intermingling among U.S. troops
Back in July 1948, when President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, predictions for its effect on the U.S. military were dire. Sen. Richard Brevard Russell Jr. of Georgia echoed the sentiments of millions of Americans in an address from the Senate floor.
Stephanie Salter: Another wronged woman becomes the nation’s paper doll
A few hours after the death of Elizabeth Edwards last week, the creepy, contemporary American ritual of vicarious grieving began in cyberspace.
“You are with your son now. Rest in peace.”
Stephanie Salter: You’ve heard from me — now, listen to the teachers
As e-mail from Indiana teachers and principals continues to pour into my box, the portrait of this beleaguered group grows more poignant each day.
STEPHANIE SALTER: Have you heard Indiana’s schools are failing? It’s a lie
In Gov. Mitch Daniels’ recent state budget PowerPoint, he put up a comparison chart: The percentage of Indiana public school students who’ve attained an advanced level of math achievement versus “the world.” Hoosiers lag behind the national average, trailing such states as Massachusetts, Oregon and New York, and such nations as Poland and Latvia.
Stephanie Salter: Bashing teachers in the name of education reform
As I read the Tribune-Star’s recent Page 1 news packages about the governor’s push for education reform, I kept seeing faces.
Stephanie Salter: After the turkey and before the pie, a round of giving thanks
As my colleague Alicia Morgan wrote last week, there is no downside to taking time out now and then to list and truly appreciate our blessings.
STEPHANIE SALTER: A story of just one corporate lobby ‘investing in advocacy’
For those of you who know in your marrow that the president’s attempt to overhaul the U.S. health care system proves his socialist agenda, take the day off. What reporter Drew Armstrong of Bloomberg News shared this past week will be of no interest to you.
Stephanie Salter: Inside today’s grab bag …: Stamps, bands and GOP $$$
It’s time for another roundup of items, little ideas that can’t grow big enough for a whole column, but just won’t go away from my field of focus.
Stephanie Salter: Can’t make a decision? Consult strangers on the ’Net
A day after I heard screenwriter and director Nora Ephron talking on NPR about that moment in the aging process when you realize you are no longer cut out to be au courant, that moment arrived for me.
Stephanie Salter: The years may pass, but a friend will always ride shotgun
I should have known there would be a first-aid kit. Susan provided for every contingency.
How like her to have tucked a 106-piece, American Medical Association-approved kit under the passenger seat of her Honda Accord. How like me not to have discovered it until I was deep cleaning the car to get it ready to sell.
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- STEPHANIE SALTER: The more things change, the more they … change