The Sunday morning service ended on time, and Ben hurried downstairs, glancing behind whenever Arthur paused to talk with someone he knew. When they finally reached the basement and had poured themselves mugs of coffee, Ben said, “It worked!” Each day all week I rowed out onto Lake Michigan, and reflected on the idea that nothing ever changes. There’s a lot of traffic on the lake a hundred yards offshore, and I kept getting into the wake of power boats and sail boats; one of the Navy Pier tour boats almost ran over me on Monday, and I felt like a Mark Twain character who can’t even look at the river without a steamboat running him over.”
“That doesn’t sound very peaceful,” Arthur said.
“It wasn’t. When I was close to shore I could see people on the beach setting up umbrellas and coolers and towels and from a little off shore, I could still see the traffic lights changing on Lake Shore Drive.”
“Everything seemed to be changing?” Arthur asked.
“Exactly, but the further I got from shore, the less change I could see. There were still people on the beach and cars on Lake Shore, but all I could see was smudgy shapes, and I realized that change all depends on distance. The closer we are to things, the more they look like they change; but if you get some distance, even the lakeshore in Chicago looks unchanging.”
“Could you be on Michigan Avenue and yet still see life as unchanging?”
“Are you giving me my next topic?” Ben asked.
Arthur waved at an acquantance across the room. “ I am,” he said and crossed the room to talk with the woman at whom he’d waved.