Volume XVII, Issue 27 # July 2 - July 8, 2009

Farewell, Dear Readers

After 16 years, it’s time for this writer to leave the pen in the inkpot

When a man fell into his anecdotage,
it was a sign for him to retire.

–Lothair, 1870

To my way of thinking the above words can be taken in more ways than one. At the moment I think it more appropriate they be interpreted thusly: When a man’s thoughts and writings turn more to anecdotes than to fresh and fiery thoughts and ideas it is a sign for him to put the pen in the inkpot.

And leave it there.

May I call you dear reader? That’s what you have always been to me; a writer who has no readers is like the tree that falls in the forest with no one around to hear it. Writers must have readers; it matters not whether they respond in the affirmative or the negative.

What matters is whether there is a response, even one not spoken or written. Methinks it should be the intention of a writer to not just stir praise or ire in the reader, but also emotion, thought and evaluation of the subject at hand. The power of the pen is awesome; it plants indelible words in the minds of readers — a basis for lasting evaluation, argument or just a reminder of what and how others might think about a topic of the times and react to it.

Dear readers, this is not to suggest that in the past 16 years I have filled this space in this publication this pen has been all powerful, or that we (you and I) have solved or even appreciably improved our earth and/or its environment. I have looked upon it over the years as more of a forum on the little and big issues. I guess one might call our relationship via print an “old fashioned blog.”

We have discussed (and I prefer to refer to our interaction as discussion) everything from politics to the wildlife in my backyard up here in North County, from fruit cakes to the cutting of trees, from fishing to the woes impacting the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.

And it has all been fun, no hard feelings at this end of the discussions when letters arrived strongly suggesting I take residence in a loony bin. It’s all a fundamental part of the game of writing.

As I have reminded you all so many times since I came aboard what was then New Bay Times in ’93, fellow Vermonter Calvin Coolidge was president when I was born, which is a long, long time ago. Much as anyone this age hates to admit it, the years take their toll, new ideas take more time to ferment, fresh suggestions come more slowly, a resurgence of energy cannot be depended upon, and in the meanwhile, perhaps I have tended to resort to anecdotal material to mask lack of a free flow of fresh concepts.

Methinks it’s time for someone much younger with ideas more fresh to fill this space — and all the other spaces I fill in other publications. A writer knows when that time comes. So we won’t be discussing things in the future — unless there comes the occasion when the editor of this sheet might think some of the old-time thinking of this old-timer might be appropriate for some new matter in the boiler in days ahead.

It is with some measure of unhappiness that I depart. My readers have been supportive, my editors likewise — and not once in 16 years have I been requested to tone down or remove negative comments I have made that have been contrary to their views — or that might not please advertisers. These days that can’t be said of many newspapers of any size.

Bay Weekly is small, you might say, but its concept remains big. It will continue to deliver interesting news to interesting people — and I leave with pride as I recall our efforts as a fledgling paper to make it what it is today. Nowhere around that I know of is there a news publication so dedicated to the Chesapeake Bay, the earth and the environment than the one you are holding in your hands.

I’m sure it will remain that way. Me? I’m only switching from writer to reader, but I remain a member of the team — and should you ever want to reach me, the address is Box 430, Pasadena, MD 21123. Enough said …