Autumn Gifts and Responsibilities

(#323) – The special light of each autumn afternoon, the swift changes in shadows and brilliant illumination of marvelous tree and meadow color as wind driven clouds perform their magic, the presence of the tremendous flocks of turkeys and deer, the coolness of morning and strong sun of the afternoon, and the still lingering crops in gardens – all in splendid array for weeks on end! Has there ever been a weather pattern more beneficial to our beautiful landscapes and our personal sense of privileged living?

We can employ this on-going magnificent gift of nature and weather to bring us a fresh sense of values and new capacity to see and hear each other as we adopt town and county budgets, choose our local political leaders, approve or reject casinos, and negotiate with large-scale project developers the economic, social and environ- mental impacts that will soon transform our lives.

The cool wisp of wind on our neck in the morning as we leave for our employment and that very welcome splash of still very warm sun light in the early after-noon can remind us that local politics is where the essential issues of justice, equity and inequality in access to power and resources is determined.  A spontaneous    ability for moral recognition of the important issues, a stronger commitment to think more carefully, and greater appreciation for all those who offer to lead and decide the public purpose can be found here.

It is inspiring to see the much higher level of citizen activism.  There is clearly a growing realization that our basic institutions and forms of governance have not served us well.  A contributing factor is that we are so divided. Let us be reminded by nature’s daily gift in this marvelous autumn that the sun and the wind, the streams and fields, forests and clouds, animals and foul, make no preference between us. Everyone benefits which is the model and mandate for us.

Sullivan County is about to change through new economic engines.  Our activism needs to be increasing focused on the many faces of social and environmental equity.  Tragic and destructive levels of poor health and poverty are rampant.  We know that there is much personal suffering and that the economic cost to everyone is much greater if mitigating these issues is not placed at the center of economic development and government budgets.  We also know that there is need for a more equitable sharing of the benefits of economic activity such as higher wages, health insurance and other benefits.  These are essential requirements for all who engage in economic activity.  They establish the support for the daily decisions of every one that can form a sustainable economy and resilient communities.

The sun and the rain fall on all alike.  Let the splendor of this autumn tune our hearts and minds to the responsibilities and rewards of providing for the needs of our neighbors and the ecosystems of our place.

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