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Letter from the Editor

The light is thin this time of year. But the sun shines bright enough on its rising and falling arc to gild everything in its path: windows, tree trunks, the marsala leaves of oaks, clouds and the heavens. That arc is brief, however, as we inch toward the darkest day of the year. On winter solstice, December 21, the sun gives us only nine hours and 28 minutes of light.

Many hearts out of hiding

“My heart in hiding. Stirred for a bird, — the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!” wrote poet Gerard Manley Hopkins of a hawk called the windhover.     In the week since I wrote in Farewell to My Dog Moe, I’ve learned that dogs release many a heart from hiding. Your letters brought me joy, comfort and consolation by introducing me to your dogs, echoing my loss and sharing the stretch to find words for a relationship so intimately wordless. Here is what you’ve said, from far and wide:

November 12, 2005 – November 29, 2014

Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.     I never expected the guardian angel of grade school prayer to be corporeal. Certainly not a dog.

That’s what all these Odd Fellows are up to

There are worse things to keep bumping into, like the doorframe that bruises your toe. The good works of civic organizations were my run-in. They cornered me at every turn, surrounding me, until I had no alternative. This week’s feature story — Get Involved: Local Civic Groups Help Make the World a Better Place — is the result of those confrontations.     Lions, Moose and Elks: What are all these Odd Fellows up to? That was my question.

Give thanks and get ready

It’s a good thing the winter holidays start with a feast. You’re going to need all your energy to keep up with the oncoming season.     Thanksgiving, only a week hence, is a command performance throughout America. Anticipation and anxiety pair as we prepare for the communal feasting demanded by our native holiday.

Bay Weekly reports on how restoration is working

If native oysters rebound in the Chesapeake, it will be a miracle. But not a mystery. A clear chain of cause and effect will have led the way.     First came the will, then the way.     Over 30 years — even a century, it could be argued — plenty was going on to restore Chesapeake oysters. For all that was tried, nothing worked — or worked on a big enough scale to fight off the forces working against the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica.     Hopes were high, results scarce.

It takes good eyes to encompass a world of wonders

Could there be more out there than meets the eye?         It may be so, just like it was impossible to predict the forces that led to this week’s wave election.     On faith or evidence, the world is full of believers in forces unseen, seldom seen and selectively seen.

Meet ghosts, Volvo ocean racers and a 1,900-mile runner in this week’s paper

If ghosts do haunt historic places, they may view ghost hunters of Melissa Barba’s ilk with the same distaste long-time celebrities feel for paparazzi. Two or three centuries into the job of haunting, a new generation comes hunting with intrusive paraphernalia: flashlights, cameras, camcorders and voice recorders.

Why your vote matters

To a lot of us, Election Day means no more than Push-the-Peanut Day.     A record low of 21 percent of Marylanders voted in June’s Primary Election. General Elections about double that percent.

Temptation awaits at the Boat Show

We Americans love progress. We love to see how technology is surpassing all past inventions to create a new, better and brighter future. Even more than seeing it, we love hands-on exploration. Invite us to put our best foot forward and step right in, and here we come.     No wonder we’re drawn like magnets by the U.S. Boat Shows — which for two weeks every October transform Annapolis into a world’s fair of marine technology.