Thursday, January 5, 2012

At War With Change

By Misty L. Harris

I have a friend who cleans out her closet every time the season changes. It’s a daunting task for her but devotes an entire weekend to this process. For example, in August, in preparation for the fall and winter months, she removes the summer garments that are hanging in the front, lays them all out, decides what to keep or what to give to Goodwill, then moves the fall items from the back, hangs the summer/spring keepers to the back and then hangs the winter clothes (that she has also given a once over) in the front. It takes her forever. I know because of the advancements in technology, I have become a part of this process, even though I am miles away in another city. After that, she’s ready for the changes that the next six months or so will bring. Me?  I’m not so organized. I keep the warm weather clothes mixed in with the cold weather clothes. It’s a daily struggle trying to discern where that favorite sweater or pair of pants are but I just don’t have the patience for that type of structure. So when the weather changes, I kind of just roll with the punches.

I thought of my friend and her ability to “adjust to change” after watching the second season of Masterpiece Classic’s “Downton Abbey (yes, I watched it). After rediscovering the first season a couple of weeks ago, I was curious as to how the characters, each of whom I have developed a relationship with (one that they are unaware of), would adapt to the changes that the final two episodes had brought. The implementation of electricity in the Abbey, the unfamiliar sound of a telephone ringing, the possible loss of an inheritance and the biggie - World War I. The overly aggressive resistance to turning a light on or jumping at the sound of a telephone by both the servants and their employees seemed foreign in nature to me and with war imminent, I felt as if the characters had already gone to battle… with these elements of change. The possible loss of their fortune weighing so heavily on the back of the eldest daughter, Mary, seemed to preoccupy the aristocrats bubble of concern more so than any World War could ever do. With that being said, the final scene from the first season gave me the answer I was looking for - change itself was the war they were about to battle and it would not be welcomed with open arms.

And while I have seen the second season in its entirety, I will not spoil it for anyone. I will not provide hints. I will say that “change” is the predominate theme and if you’ve seen the preview you know that this rollercoaster ride appears to be never-ending. And like my friend’s seasonal clothes purge, the characters have their own personal purges, their closet doors open and some things come out… some things stay in… some things are even forcibly pushed back in. All of this purging happens with or with out their control as they battle a life of war in both the literal and figurative sense all for the sake of change.

Are you excited for the second season of Masterpiece Classic's Downton Abbey? The wait is over beginning Sunday, January 8 at 9pm on WNED-TV. I suggest you re-watch the final episode available now for streaming on PBS.

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