Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Whisper to a Riot

It's always surprising how often the calendar and New England weather seem to be synchronized and complement one another. This past Saturday, the first "fall" weekend, had me decide after a quick walk around the block to ditch the shorts I've been wearing for months for my 'big boy' pants.

I'll admit it took me a couple of minutes in the out and about to get comfortable with wearing long pants again during the weekend, but I have the feeling I'll get used to it pretty quickly; now if only all those thank you notes from passers-by would stop.

I was tuning up here in Norwich (I like to think of it as a 'home field advantage') for what has already gotten off to a soft start across the region, The Last Green Valley's Walktober 2015.  During past years of these organized regional walks, I've enjoyed learning about tons of spaces and places across Norwich that I'd passed dozens if not thousands of times without ever really 'seeing.'

My ambition this year is to spread my wings and lace up my walking shoes and sample other towns and points of interest because there's so much to see and do it would be a tragedy to simply not try.

While you're on their website, you can download the entire catalog of walks and explorations or when you visit their Facebook Events Page, you can read the day by day listings with something for everyone.

Saturday, as I passed Little Plains Park, the leaves on some of the trees nearer to what I call the Cathedral side of the park had started to turn color while below, oblivious to that change but not to the season, a group of youngsters enjoyed themselves and a spirited game of touch football as an elderly couple perhaps taking a break from a walk of their own, sat and smiled as the players ran past them.

We are electing a City Council and a Board of Education in about five weeks' time, and as I walked down Union Street towards City Hall I passed lawn signs advocating for various candidates. Truly, and not just here, of course, they are signs of fall.

But walking from my house near Chelsea Parade past Little Plains Park I'd seen far more, and far more, disquieting lawn signs, actually For Sale signs, that lead me to hope we'll soon have candidate forums and the opportunities to speak with those of our neighbors who are offering themselves for elected office about their approach to reversing our city's slide (I feel I'm being kind when I use that word-I've heard 'free-fall' and far worse).

Continuing down Union and then back up on Broadway perhaps it was the motion or the direction but I kept thinking about how, in the words of Jackson Browne, "we have come to the place where the road and the sky collide," as a city and maybe more than that.

I work hard to be an optimist, but I am also a relentless pragmatist, and while I applaud the generosity of all those who volunteer to serve as elected officials, I need those of you running for office to have more than ' I love Norwich' (who would run who didn't?) as your platform. Seriously.

I know you mean well but it's time we choose people who will do well. At least that's what I was thinking about as I walked. That, and how much my long pants itched.
-bill kenny

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