(For Clay Wilson)
Every so often, everyone has a "How did I get here?" moment.
I had one last week. When it happened I was sitting on the floor of Grand Central Station in my bare feet, with my wet shoes and socks piled next to me. I was playing a game on my friend's iPod where you have to shoot paratroopers out of the sky with a cannon.
We had been trucking through Manhattan when the rain picked up, and everyone was thoroughly doused. Seeking shelter in one of the world's largest public transportation hubs (along with half of the city), I was doing guard duty on the bags while my friends hunted the underground mall for some fresh socks or flip-flops.
Maybe it was the idea of being alone in such an enormous room that was filled with people. Maybe it was my sore, wet feet. Maybe it was the absurdity of that war game on a portable music player.
How did I get there? Impossible to answer.
Checking off a list of the people I was with, who they were and what they did, working out the quick assessment of where I am in my life, and so on, and so on. A fun exercise, but none of that ever seems to help at the end of the day. These assessment points usually hit us on the back of the head and keep right on going, and only after they have passed do we have a chance to consider them.
When that magical "thing" clicks to prompt a major change in your life it never bases its argument on logic.
It's all pathos.
Our co-worker of two years, Mr. Clay Wilson, will work his last day at the Daily Herald today. He has decided that the "thing" has clicked, and he will be moving to Memphis this weekend to find new challenges.
This unexpected maneuver has taught me a valuable lesson, and I'd like to thank Clay for that.
No matter how routine or focused life can seem from day to day, at any moment an inspiration for change can strike hard enough to jar any of us from our comfort zones.
Clay is making this move with very little insurance. He has only a few friends in his new city, and a limited knowledge of the surroundings. On top of these difficult hurdles, he doesn't have a new job yet.
Are you up for an adventure on that scale? I'm not, and I doubt you are, either.
Despite being an adventure by definition, Clay's move is not fueled by some need for wild and uncertain experience. He, more than anyone I've ever met, has a sense of optimism and perseverance that could take him through the most difficult of trials, and because of that I'm sure this transition will provide only minor speed bumps.
In the time I've worked with Clay he has been an example of how to handle difficult situations with class. He has taken every opportunity to help people on short notice, and has made kept promises to get back to them if time doesn't immediately permit. These qualities aren't specific to his workplace habits; they are identifying characteristics in all aspects of his life.
Henry County will surely miss you Clay, and we all wish you the best of luck.
Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at email@example.com.