from the editors
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or
you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’
— Bob Dylan
Dear Ornament Reader,
In 1963 when Bob Dylan wrote The Times They Are A-Changin’, for many of us the lyrics spoke to the cultural, social and political fierceness of that era and reached beyond it—a clarion call to the future. The times always are a-changin’. The fundamentals remain the same throughout the years and centuries—Life is transitional, transformational and, for all of us, temporary and all too short.
Due to the ever-shifting national and global circumstances, the winds of change that pulsed through the mid-twentieth century, when Dylan wrote his definitive songs, seem to be gathering a force of their own eighteen years into the twenty-first and many of the narratives appear to rhyme. Additionally, from the passing of one century into another, we have experienced an explosion of information and inventions that were once inconceivable. The world now moves on with a pace none of us could have predicated and it seems more destabilizing. No one has been left untouched and whether we will it or not, we are irrevocably and quickly changed by life’s circumstances from wherever they stem.
Dylan’s words reach into the deep human tremors that arise and course during turbulent times, like the ones we are now experiencing, and they are as relevant in 2018 as in the early 1960s. With anthem-like cadence in its five verses, the song gathers us together as a community and says listen: Change is all the time and not always for the better. It happens for good or for ill and can produce justice as well as injustice. Accept it, get used to it and move on; there is nothing to fear, otherwise life might just pass you by. Being part of life’s flowing river means choosing a current to follow and to swim with it. Don’t sink like a stone and miss the opportunity to make as many good choices as you can; it can mean your survival and that of others. For us the clarion call is to embrace our own humanity and those of others, to stand up for what we believe and, not stopping there, help make the world a better place for everyone. There is much good to be had in a world that is always a-changin’.
With our best wishes,