Birds do it, frogs do it, even rabbits in the woods do it. So let’s do it – let’s survive winter.
In this issue, writer and naturalist Don Scallen describes some of the ingenious ways local wildlife make it through the harsh weather ahead. We humans could take some notes.
Blessed as we were by a blazing fall and early November’s string of unusually sunny days, with the lingering pall of three years of Covid, the prospect of escalating food and heating costs, and the relentless drumbeat of war, climate devastation and social division, it’s going to be harder than ever to find rays of light in the dark and cold weeks to come.
Although we can’t solve all the problems, we hope the inspiring people and festive activities we’ve packed into this issue will offer some welcome respite from the Big Gloom. As always, this year’s Local Heroes represent what’s best about our community – the kindness and dedication that propel us forward. And with the holiday season upon us, we visit five individuals and families who describe the rich diversity of festivities that serve to gladden hearts and lift spirits when the days are short.
Of course, these pages also contain plenty of diversions that will get you outdoors, off to a performance or cooking up a feast. But if hibernation is more your thing and you’d rather just cozy up with a good book or some music, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from in our annual reviews of new books and recordings.
Whatever your preference, we wish you some sunshine on a cloudy day.
With this issue, two of our longtime contributors are moving on.
Valerie Jones’s name may not be familiar to most readers, but behind the scenes she has been the indispensable brains and brawn who has kept our website and other digital platforms on track for more than a decade. It’s a job that took not only tremendous skill in a rapidly evolving tech environment, but extraordinary patience – with those of us, like me (well, mostly me), who are not what you would call early adopters. Although Valerie will continue to help us with certain tasks, her very big shoes will now be filled by digital editor Emily Dickson, who is introduced in our contributor profiles on page 16.
We’re also bidding adieu to Tracey Fockler. Although Tracey has generally written just one feature a year for us, what a one it was – our annual roundup of new books by local authors and illustrators. What started out in 1998 as a handful of titles has grown to more than three dozen (print, it seems, is not dead). Each year, Tracey read and then wrote compact, thoughtful reviews about every one of them. For this year’s reviews, it took six of us to replace her.
We send both Valerie and Tracey off on their new adventures with enormous gratitude and goodwill.