When people think of Billy Joel, the song “Piano Man” usually pops into their mind, but a song that I think is often overlooked is “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”. It is an epic song that follows the course of a couple as they fall in love during their teenage years, and eventually break up. One of my favorite lines from the song has always been, “Then the king and the queen went back to the green/ But you can never go back there again.” It is a thought that has really stuck with me the last couple of days as I have travelled around Denver. The city has some of those familiar landmarks that I remember from growing up, but there has been such an influx of people to the state lately that I am having a hard time finding things that used to be there, but are no longer there. New buildings, new developments, and new businesses are taking the place of open space and run down shopping centers all of the time, and it is no longer the Denver that I once remembered.
This was painfully evident when I went down to Auraria Campus in the heart of downtown to pick up some paperwork from my old university. The campus actually houses three different colleges, and mine used to share buildings with a lot of the older schools. But I had not been back to the campus since 2006 when I graduated, and Metro State University has grown quite a bit since then. There were many new buildings on the campus that belong solely to this university. Many new parking lots also dotted the campus, and the age of the student there had obviously lowered. What was once a commuter college had turned into a legitimate institution with a completely different vibe. The old campus I once knew was long gone, and would never be back again.
This is the way of life too. We experience things, and because of that we get a new perspective of the world. We may wish to go back to that innocent view that we once held, but we can never go back to that old way of looking at the world because our new view will always taint the old one. A city does the same thing. It grows and shapes itself into the needs of its citizens at that time. When you live there, you hardly notice the changes taking place, but if you ever leave and come back, it feels like you have come back to a completely new city. Sometimes that change is shiny and new, but other times, it is just the city showing its age as it slowly goes into decline. The point is that I can never come back to the green again. My time at the place has come to an end, and I can come back to visit from time to time, but it is somebody else’s place to call home and change into the vision that they have the place. It happens to us many times in our lives; we just need to recognize when that time has come and be wise enough to move on. And most importantly don’t get mad when the place we left behind has changed into something new. Remember the time you had there with fondness, and enjoy the new vision to come.