Friday, March 10, 2006
Is it your turn yet?
When was the last time your neighbors helped you? Even if you work overtime or live down a long drive and seldom chat with those next door, you do depend on your neighbors for help. We all do. Not everyone calls the volunteer EMTs for a medical emergency, or has children in sports programs coached by other parents, but we all rely on the Carlisle residents who volunteer to serve in town government. Neighbors donate their time to help oversee both the town's day-to-day business, and help with the long-range planning. Each year new volunteers are needed to take a turn.
The benefits of volunteering are many. Serving on town boards is a fantastic way to meet people, to learn more about the town and to help shape its future. The jobs vary in workload, and many require only a few hours a month. While expertise in law, engineering or architecture is welcomed by many boards, equally valuable are a willingness to listen, to learn and to help the community.
Many committees are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Examples are Celebrations Committee, Community Preservation Act Committee, Conservation Commission, Council on Aging, Cultural Council, Historical Commission, Household Recycling Committee, Finance Committee, Personnel Board, Recreaton Commission, School Building Committee, Trails Committee, Youth Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Anyone interested in helping on one of these groups should contact the Town Administrator, Madonna McKenzie.
Other town boards and committees are elected positions, including the Carlisle School Committee, Planning Board, Library Trustees, Board of Health, Board of Assessors, Board of Selectmen, and Moderator. Current openings are for one-, two- or three-year terms.
Standing for local election is easy. The quickest way is to attend the Annual Town Caucus on Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m. in the Clark Room at Town Hall. Once the required quorum of 25 registered voters is assembled, it usually takes only a few minutes for the group to nominate candidates. Bring a friend to nominate you, or call the Town Clerk for suggestions of past Caucus attendees who might be glad to oblige.
Those who decide to run after the Caucus can be added to the ballot by filing nomination papers with the Town Clerk. This will require submitting the signatures of 26 registered Carlisle voters by the deadline of March 21. The last day to register to vote is April 11, and Town Election will be held on May 9.
Our town government depends on the willingness of residents to step forward and lend a hand. Your neighbors have been helping. Is it your turn?
The endurance of small things
Have you ever noticed, at the end of a snow storm, more often than not the smallest birds are the first to return to the feeders? I noticed this after our last blizzard when, even before the storm had passed, the sparrows and wrens emerged from the shelter of our discarded Christmas tree to gather bravely on our tubular birdfeeder, still rocking in the wind. Their tenacity touched me in a strange way, perhaps because I have been going through some trying times of late. It seemed to me that a lesson could be found in their tenacity, a reminder about the power of endurance, perhaps even a message about hope.
Here at my former farmhouse on Bedford Road, I am surrounded by such reminders. In the middle of February, I found daffodils poking their heads out of the soil near our basement door. These harbingers of spring surprise me year after year by how early they show up. This year has to be the earliest arrival in my memory. They have grown to about four inches tall, with fattening buds, and wait there patiently in the snow for the next warm-up to give them another thrust of growth. I have no idea what kind they are, nor even when they were planted, although I know they have bloomed there since before we moved in 22 years ago. They amaze me every year when, out of the depths of winter, they emerge like a rebuttal to the often pessimistic Punxatawny Phil.
In like manner, every June I welcome the brief appearance of fragrant yellow roses around my back porch. These hardy nameless wonders bloom for a week, scenting the air deliciously, and then die away, their leaves falling prey to the Japanese beetles. But come July, new leaves appear and the bushes soldier on. What I find truly remarkable about these roses is the fact that they are growing out from under our porch, which was added on to the house in the 1950s. Did the builders cut down the bushes and then build the porch, only to have the roses regenerate and grow through the wooden lattice at the base of the structure? What determination these bushes show, year after year, returning to bloom without any effort on my part — no watering, no fertilizing — for I have no way to get at their roots. How fortunate I am that they are roses, and not poison ivy.
Sometime in the past, a gardener, probably Joan Bates, whose family built this house, planted these yellow wonders for her family's enjoyment. Could she have known what they would come to mean to a stranger decades in the future? We sometimes leave unknown legacies we know nothing about, and these small inheritances have brought me hope in a hard time.
© 2006 The