Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year that Was

I usually hate those "let's look back and sum up" stories we get deluged with at this time of year, but I find myself reflective and drawn to do just that as I look out on the second (or third?) big snow storm of the season.

We all weathered our share of adversity and it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon. If you didn't lose your job yet, you likely know someone or several people who have. You watched your IRA or 401(k) if you had one, lose almost half it's value or maybe you were a victim of the Madoff scandal. But what really stands out for me is the way we all reached out for each other and kept on keeping on. Somehow our community felt more like a community.

The morning after Barak Obama was elected I went down to Coolidge Corner to do some errands and the air was electric with relief, joy, potential, pride. Everyone smiled at each other. Strangers talked about being proud to be an American again, finally. I went to the hardware store and someone was there asking about American flags, and this was someone who did not look like they had flown one for quite awhile. Young people saw a reason to be involved again, a hope that maybe there was something worth working towards or for. All that bad news that's been heaped upon us is not smothering us, it's a challenge. A call to arms. Our talents, strengths, skills, hard work and perseverance are needed and will have a channel to be funneled through.

We had some pretty momentous and heated debates on local issues too. Article 15 and the revolutionary concept that there was such a thing as too much parking was a teaching moment, one that seems to need to be repeated again as 2 Brookline Place enters the final phase of their permitting. I was thrilled and proud that Town Meeting passed it. The Article 13 debate was a low point. There seemed to be so many disingenuous sound bites, lack of real discourse and meaning....it just devolved to such a point I felt it wrong to even have a vote on it at that point. I have been working on a "Growing Smart" post ever since, stay tuned...

At the Minot Rose Garden we held a ribbon cutting, celebrating the installation of our fabulous, gorgeous fence, thanks to the Brookline Community Foundation, many donors and the Parks and Open Space division. It's always such a celebration of community to get together in the garden and express our gratitude and appreciation for all it brings to the neighborhood. On that score, our call for artists for our up coming art show at the Brookline Arts Center brought submissions from more than 60 artists. The caliber of the art was phenomenal and the show, coming up this February 9 - March 21 will be fantastic! I love the idea of getting all those artists together, who have the garden in common. I can't wait. Rose garden art in the dead of February.

Another highlight as far as I'm concerned was the creation of the town's Climate Action Committee. What a great, committed group of folks and we are just getting going! It's an honor to be a part of this effort, and while the subject of climate change is perhaps our greatest challenge as a species, it is a positive to be part of those seeking solutions and actions. It's nice too how with our new president and some very good new State legislation, (the Green Communities Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act), it feels like finally we will have the wind at our backs, all of us working towards the same goal. How long has it been since we've felt that way?

Brookline, like the rest of the country and the world has experienced a seismic shift, unlike anything I can remember, but rather than being a disaster, it feels like an opportunity to build a better, stronger community.

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1 comment:

Lisa said...

Thank you so much for your honest discussions and genuine desire to do what's best for everyone. I am a young professional who lived in Brookline and now lives in Brighton. Often, the attitudes I've encountered are not like yours to say the least. To give an example, one of my dearest friends was lamenting the amount of traffic and commuters who park in Brookline. She praised the overnight parking ban as helpful in keeping the streets clear near her house. I asked her what residents did who couldn't afford or couldn't locate a paid spot. She said, with no guilt at all, "oh we park in Brighton, Brighton doesn't care about its streets as much as we do."

I trust you can see why I might be upset by this. Anyway, its refreshing to read your writing.