One of the things I hate about aging is the increased number of endings. I’m not talking about the deaths of loved ones. I’m talking about the smaller endings that add up over the years to produce a nebulous sense of loss. These smaller endings accumulate like a steady snowfall that slowly changes the landscape until you find yourself longing for a spring that will never come.
For me these small endings talk place mostly in the realm of radio. I discover that a favorite radio station has gone off the air or changed format. Recently changes on a favorite radio station have hit me harder than I thought they would. Garrison Keillor retires from doing A Prairie Home Companion. The Swing Years and Beyond goes away. The Vinyl Cafe ends with the death of Stuart McLean. Car Talk (now in a “Best of” packaging) will go off the air this year.
Turning to my two favorite musical genres the trend continues with musicians retiring or passing away. Classical music continues its seemingly unstoppable decline in America. For me it is painful to watch. In Jazz the big story is different. Jazz as a music is alive and well. Still I hear the constant news of favorite artists no longer performing, no longer recording, passing away. Just in the last month: Al Jarreau (died) and Gary Burton (retiring).
I sit here in a nearly empty room–a shell of the Print Center that I used to work in–and i think. I think of favorite foods that I can no longer get, favorite stores that are long closed, beloved institutions that have disappeared and cultural traditions that have faded away.
In moments like these it’s hard for me to escape the feeling that little by little my world is shrinking, eroding, fading and just plain going away.