"When fortune smiles, give her a wink"

"When fortune smiles our way, we'll always be the first to greet her with an accommodating lap.So we were certainly delighted this week to learn of the fortuitous purchase by the city of a marvelous shoreline area and tide flat on Eagle Harbor's colloquially known head of the bay. We hope it won't be the last open space purchase you read about in these pages over the coming year, a sentiment - helloooo, Lady Luck - shared by Mayor Dwight Sutton.We're working on others, Sutton said Friday, standing amid the marshy environs next to Eagle Harbor. But this is the one that came to life and fell into our hands.We don't believe you'd have seen this sequestered shoreline parcel on any agency's list of targeted open-space purchases, and its sudden availability took city official and council members quite by surprise just a few weeks ago.And having strolled the property ourselves, we can report what residents in the Gowen Place neighborhood have known for years - of the particular tranquility of that winsome inlet, unspoilt even by the distant hum of cars on Bucklin Hill and Eagle Harbor Drive. An array of wildfowl thrive in the many trees, the passage of the day marked only by the gentle, rhythmic lapping at the water's edge.News of the purchase was greeted, we judged, with a bit of trepidation by area residents. And while we certainly respect their concern over any change, we're always somewhat surprised when the purchase of public open space is greeted with suspicion by those living nearby. It's a reaction that seems to follow, for example, every announced improvement of a public road end - the fear that posting a Scenic Viewpoint sign will suddenly draw noisy, unkempt hordes trundling beer coolers and barbecues into our very backyards.Fact is, few of us really go out of our way to take in the views outside our own immediate streets. And more to the point, the very byways and vacant lots that we've all taken for granted as informal open space are disappearing with alarming rapidity. We suspect that if the Gowen Place folks lived in Fort Ward, and had survived half a decade (and counting) of roaring excavators and pounding hammers, watching each field and orchard give way to new mansions, they'd be greeting the city's purchase with a bit less unease. It's an interesting irony - the island-wide anxiety over the incremental loss of open spaces, expressed again in converse at news of our occasional, localized successes. Our challenge is to stay focused at once on the big picture and the small.I'd like to see another challenge come along right quick, Sutton said. It might put a strain on us, but we'd rise to the occasion.Indeed, here's hoping - for another chance to protect an island waterfront area or farmland, and another big, wet, sloppy kiss from Lady Luck."

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