Vol. 9, No. 16
April 19-25, 2001
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Bay Weekly at Eight: A Dream and Many Voices

With the coming of Earth Day 2001, Bay Weekly celebrates its eighth birthday.

In human years, eight is about when you begin to wonder who you are in the world. You've been busy being and growing and doing; now you've passed the age of reason and you begin reflecting. But you can't see yourself, so you seek your reflection in the mirror of others.

We hope our comparison doesn't work perfectly. We like to think we've been reasoning and reflecting all along, and we've defined ourselves since our earliest days in the Mission Statement that appears on page 2 every week.

Bay Weekly is working toward a dream.

It's a dream where people enjoy a high quality of life in a sustainable way they'll be able to hand down for generations to come.

Still, as our eighth birthday approached, we've caught glimpses of ourselves in mirrors held up by you, the readers in this partnership.

"That bluebird issue is the best paper you've ever put out," said neighbor Robert Hillman when we ran into him at Surfside South. Of course we think every issue is the best - until the next one comes along. But just maybe we're like parents blinded by their child's beauty. A few years back, Hillman got up our dander by telling us our early issues were ugly as mud. They didn't seem so at the time, but looking back, we couldn't disagree.

That same issue, Vol. IX, No. 14, evoked a lot of comment, so mirrors have been flashing all around. We saw ourselves again in the words of a reader and contributor to that issue, Carolyn Sterns:

I am noticing a change in Bay Weekly. I don't know when it started. You might say you've been creating this kind of paper all along. Which could be true, and that I've been blind. Anyway. I loved Connie Darago's piece on the bluebirds.

But it wasn't just about bluebirds. It brought my attention to the habitat of bluebirds. I loved Gary Pendleton's piece about the spring peepers. But it was more than a piece about peepers. It brought my attention to needing to protect the habitat of these greeters of spring. Then my piece, "Turtle Heaven" swings in there, too. But I'm not saying this because you publish my work. It's more than that ...

I find I am looking forward to Thursday. I watch myself relishing your choices, wondering what you're going to say next. You are holding your focus of intent beautifully. Bay Weekly really is a voice of the community. Now that's what I'm trying to say. It's not becoming the voice. It is the voice.

Carolyn is right. We do think this is the kind of paper we've been creating all along. But if we've become the voice - even a voice - of Chesapeake Country, that's an honor we all share. For many voices blend in this weekly dialogue of life in the 21st century along Chesapeake Bay. We rise to your voices as you rise to ours.

We've known that all along, but what you know best is like the sun, returning again and again in blazing clarity. So it was as we read the e-mail submission of the letter you'll read this week above the signature Eric Smith. For Eric, we know, is a 14-year-old freshman at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C.

Eric's letter reminded us that our eighth birthday, what Bay Weekly has to celebrate is how we bring out the best in one another.

Thank you for doing this newspaper with us, all 384 issues of it and many more to come.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly