Editorial: A grateful island

Sunshine sparkling on the fresh snow and ice last weekend gave many Mount Desert Island residents a chance to catch our breath and reflect on the privilege of calling this majestic place home.

While we welcome many more wintertime tourists here than we used to, the turn of the season still signals a turning inward as the news shifts to basketball, school budgets, scallop diving and Christmas festivities.

During this holiday week, we have much to be thankful for.

Gratitude grows even in the face of calamity. A woman lost her house and her dogs in a fire last week. Firefighters and EMTs worked through the night in bitter conditions to get the fire under control and keep neighbors, and each other, safe–and got up the next morning to care for their families and be on time for their day jobs. A fundraiser to support the homeowner exceeded its goal. Many who donated wrote notes about how, over the years, she had gone out of her way to help them.

Dozens of volunteers filled bags and boxes of donated food to make a special holiday meal possible for hundreds of struggling families. We are fortunate that the Bar Harbor and Westside food pantries work throughout the year.

When a pet gets loose, everyone pitches in to help police and animal control officers return it to its home.

Crafters and local businesses benefit from local residents’ strong commitment to shopping local, especially in this holiday season.

People in local government, business, schools and nonprofits work every day to keep the wheels of our towns turning. They’re also constantly striving to improve.

Our fondness for history is healthy, as museums and historical societies not only celebrate the good old days but also ask tough questions. What revisions do we need to make to the grade-school understanding of the first Thanksgiving? The Abbe Museum and other groups are leading the charge in questioning how we preserve and talk about our history.

Do pause this week to give thanks–for food to eat and loved ones, yes, but also for community caring, for civic organizations, for local business, for responsive government and for the beauty of nature.


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