Find new reasons for thanksgiving

Was the table half empty, or half full?

In a tough year, it might have been tempting to let our gratitude for the bounty laid before us on Thanksgiving be tempered by the challenges that would remain before us thereafter.

Truly, as we paused this week for the calendar’s penultimate holiday, we had to admit: 2002 has pretty much stunk. Locally, it was a year of general and often senseless discord in our political arenas. Volatility and violence on the national and international fronts inspired anxiety, confusion, anger and

dismay. And a stagnant economy left even those of us blessed with good employment with a sense of unease.

But throughout the year, beneath smaller headlines in serifed fonts, we saw a wealth of good works, the extraordinary acts that are somehow commonplace in the Bainbridge community. And we found ourselves giving thanks:

For dedication of a new library at a local private school, to remember a young girl who during her brief time on the planet found joy in the written word; for a new research foundation, created by parents in memory of a young boy lost to cancer; for a community fund-raiser to help a neighbor and victim of leukemia. For a cornerstone of hope, laid in March at the future site of an internment memorial on Taylor Avenue. For the dedication of a new center for special-needs youths and young adults on Winslow Way; for the construction of a kids’ playground in the heart of town; for students knitting caps for the homeless, and investing in the earth by planting trees on High School Road. For a dozen other drives and projects and seminars for specific causes; for the ongoing work of the island’s social services agencies; for countless undocumented demonstrations of volunteerism and goodwill.

In each story we found a community’s continuing endorsement of itself, the investment of individuals in something of greater value than themselves: others.

How will those moments be recalled? As we edited this

edition of the Review, we were moved by the verse of the nation’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. In another context, Collins contemplated how the random, even mundane intersection of lives can foster moments so transcendent as to burn themselves into the consciousness of lifetimes:

“...Then all the moments of the past began to line up

behind that moment and all

the moments to come

assembled in front of it in a long row,

giving me reason to believe

that this was a moment I had rescued

from the millions that rush out of sight

into a darkness behind the eyes.

“Even after I have forgotten what year it is,

my middle name

and the meaning of money,

I will still carry in my pocket

the small coin of that moment,

minted in the kingdom

that we pace through every day.”

Look around you, Bainbridge Island, and find just such a moment in your life from the past year. Better yet, create a new one and savor it. And give thanks once again.

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