Friday, June 26, 2009
Thank you, Carlisle
As June draws to a close, gratitude is in the air. Students are thanking teachers; the Council on Aging is thanking their volunteers; Old Home Day organizers are grateful to their supporters and we are all urged to thank our post office. So it is fitting that we, the board of directors of the Mosquito, take this opportunity to cast our net wide and thank the 645 households who donated so generously to our Annual Appeal this year.
Every year we brainstorm at our board meetings, trying to come up with ways to make our yearly begging successful enough to allow us to bring you another year of town news. As a non-profit newspaper, we rely on the sweat of dedicated workers, advertising revenues and the generosity of town donors. This year, we knew that advertising revenues would be significantly down, so we turned to you, our neighbors, many of whom were hurting in this economic downturn, and asked you to be as generous as you could, and boy, did you surprise us. Last year, in 2007-2008, 565 households gave $35,085. This year, despite the hardest economic times we’ve seen in a long while, 645 households donated $41,345.
To say we were surprised is an understatement; to say we are grateful doesn’t seem nearly enough. Because of this benificence, we will be able to continue to bring you your town news for another year. Thank you, Carlisle. We will strive to be as good a neighbor to you as you have proven to be to us.
June is a month of leave-takings, the end of the social year, graduations, the conclusion of the winter-activities season (from theater to non-profits to hockey). And wherever people gather for these leave-takings the common question is “Do you have travel plans?”
It’s a good, open-ended question, allowing lots of room for meandering answers. In fact, the answering of the question and the conversation that follows can take on aspects of travel – the anticipation of a locale seen only over the Internet, the memories of places inhabited by a hundred friendly ghosts, the excitement of a car packed with tents and toys on a two-lane road in the clean air of a cloudless July morning, the rental cottage smell of mildew and low tide.
This year, of course, for many of us travel plans have been scaled back to the necessary, or at least the barely frivolous. There may be a daughter heading off to college in August. Well, somebody has to fly or drive her there and visit the local Target for sheets that could not be sized until the dorm room mattress had been viewed. Might as well be us! (And no, big box stores are not all the same everywhere: I defy you to find a WalMart in the northeast with an entire aisle devoted to 23 flavors of Spam; that is a treat reserved for visitors to the store in Maui.) There may be a vacation home purchased in better days. Well, what are we waiting for? Why go anywhere else? We bought the place because we loved the dunes / the mountain trails / the sunset across the lake / the fog moving through the islands in the bay.
This itself is a kind of vacation, from excess. It is hard to beat lazy afternoons along the canals of France, I confess. But the French enjoy the privilege without leaving home. Good bread, cheese, radishes, sausage and wine are to be had in nearly every corner of New England. Picnics next to a pond at a State Park and a snooze under the shade of a whispering white pine are but a bike ride away. No tunnel tolls, no flight delays, no lost luggage.
Which brings me to what I consider to be the paradox of travel away from Carlisle for those of us who have the privilege to live here. Except for a few road bike pelotons, the burg empties out after Old Home Day. I have rarely, if ever, crossed the town line back into Carlisle after a summer vacation without asking myself why I ever left. Oh, I know we lack a decent swimming hole, but the kayaking on the Concord is cool and breezy, and the fishermen little different from those on French canal banks. The bike ride into the Village Center down the back lanes is just enough to get the heart going, and every bit as scenic as a ride into a village in the Cotswolds. And the coffee, pastry and conversation in a rocking chair or on the patio at Ferns, next to overflowing flower boxes watered by roof runoff, is as authentic and relaxing as any small Spanish café.
Wherever your summer may take you, happy travels!
© 2009 The