Just returned from a five state tour of Middle America - Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and North Carolina.The ostensible reason for going was to attend the 23rd Annual Arts and Crafts Conference in Asheville, North Carolina.
The real reason was that I needed to get away and see things a little more clearly. My daughter would say, "Remove the veil of ignorance." I like to say, "Going to the balcony." Either way, it is a metaphor for stepping away from the field of battle, another metaphor, so that you get a better perspective of who you are and of the people around you.
Your question as to whether I have changed is intriguing. Change is often a subtle thing. We are so easily caught up in the tumult of life's events, that it is difficult to see how life's events affect us. No, that takes reflection which is better left to a time when one has the luxury of a cup of coffee and an easy chair.
Of the people I observed in my travel, there is too much to express in one essay. One thing I can say is that despite the infinite differences, we are pretty much the same. The only real distinction is in one's attitude to life. Perhaps it is best summarized in the statements of two people. The first in Elizabethton, Tennessee I asked, "What does one do around here for fun?" and her reply was, "Just work." The second a woman who left Houston Texas and moved to Cadiz, Kentucky, a town of 2,000. She now volunteers to run a non-profit community art museum, Janice Mason Art Museum. On the current exhibit of art by the local junior and senior high school, she says with heart-felt enthusiam, "Isn't their art amazing." We all struggle to pay the bills, to work out personal conflicts, and search for meaning to the changes taking place. To those who enjoy the process, it is exhilarating, to others, just work.
If I have changed, it is in my appreciation of the little things in life.