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Letter from the Editor

Empathy and imagination light the way 

     The perfect gift? Satisfying that standard is too heavy a burden to bear any time of the year, especially in this season dedicated to rekindling hope, faith and charity. The right gift will do just fine — if only I can find it. Actually, them — for it’s several people for whom I’m still seeking good matches.       Helping us all make good matches in these waning days of the season of gift seeking is our mission in this week’s paper.

Open horizons and swans to unite us

     If Bay Weekly were a three-ring circus, you’d find swans in every ring. For that, there’s good reason.      This week’s paper, our first in December, marks the arrival of meteorological winter. Here in Chesapeake Country, it’s not the serious winter already chilling our northern-tier neighbors. As I write, it’s –2 degrees in Crosby, North Dakota, right up on the Canadian border.
Bay Weekly wants to know
     Snow. You know it’s coming.       Sometime this winter — if not this month, the next or the next all the way up until March — we’ll hear the message that schools are closed due to inclement weather. Students rejoice. Parents sigh.        How do you spend your snow-day?
Turn on the lights. Bring in the tree. Rejoice in pageantry. 
     “There’s a big beautiful tree all lit up in the Smiths’ window.” That was the news my husband brought in with newspapers and coffee this morning. After seeing the neighbors’ tree in the late predawn, he was about to haul in ours, now soaking up water as the Bay Gardener directs in this week’s column.       “Don’t you think it’s a little early?” I asked. “It is still November.” 

Into gifts that can change lives

     I hope that you are among the fortunate who counted and credited your blessings in the company of family and friends all anticipating digging into the Thanksgiving feast.      I hope your dinner was rich with food and fellowship and wine, the latter if you’re so inclined.      I hope your harvest was good, whether gathered by hand from fields and Bay or from resources of later invention.

The most wonderful time of the year starts now

      The great wheel of the year is turning. This time of year, the rotation is plain to see.        With Daylight Savings Time banished for another five months, real time throws us into early darkness deeper and denser than 10pm on a summer’s night.       Leaves are dropping by the millions. As their dense canopy falls, the horizon opens up as if a mountain range had disappeared. 

None should be forgotten

      Do you know the story behind the poppies artist Brad Wells has drawn in honor of Veterans Day for Coloring Corner in this week’s paper?       Red poppies came to be a recognizable symbol on both sides of the Atlantic after World War I. But the flowers had achieved their symbolic force a century earlier, after death marched through Europe with Napoleon’s armies. The hearty flowers were the first to take root in fields, where they were said to rise up among the bodies of dead soldiers.

Think as well of the people as of the turkey

     Like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is America’s own holiday. Joining together in annual celebration, we renew their meaning and recommit ourselves to the values those high holidays represent.      Thanksgiving hosts take very seriously their turn at continuing that honored responsibility. Time-honored as the elements of the feast are, we must each perfect them for our table. Perhaps each year there will be one thing new.

There’s more in the air than falling leaves this time of year

     Have you been seeing things? There’s a lot to see as autumn shoots a last blast of color before fading to winter’s grayscale. In Chesapeake Country’s moderate color zone — our current status according to the Foliage Network — sumac and dogwoods are blazing and pin oaks bronzing through the yellowing green. The dappled treescape evokes the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ lovely poem Pied Beauty. 

What about yours?

     Everybody’s got a book in them?      Maybe so. Certainly we’ve all got stories. But the difference between a story and a book is getting it done.