Taking a look outside

This week posed a unique challenge as I thought about this column. Many people are familiar with the concept of writers block, and the feeling that a blank screen or clean sheet of paper can impose. My problem was related to a lesser-known condition, and one that I find equally difficult to work through. For lack of a better term, I will call it informational paralysis. It occurs when there is so much happening; you simply do not know where (or how) to start. I could feel its pressure as I caught-up on the national news and then tried to focus my attention on this weeks paper. Just in the last few days; oil topped $101 a barrel, Castro has stepped down as Cubas President, our government approved a 28-mile virtual border fence, and the presidential campaign process continues to flirt with scandal and controversy. Locally I was not much better off; the state made another significant (and controversial) investment in Forest Preserve lands, affordable housing is once-again in the news, and two major development projects in North Creek took significant steps forward. As I rode home from Johnsburgs town board meeting Thursday night, trying to process all of this, my thoughts turned to an old memory and its current relevance. My grandmother is best described as a salt of the earth type of woman. She has worked hard her entire life, and commonly referred to as Ma Paull by those who know her well. Never one to be shy, she always took great pride in keeping a close watch over her community. One thing I noticed about her many years ago was an odd habit of looking out the window, as a car would pass by her house. I suppose it was a natural human curiosity to wonder who was driving by and where they were going, and it was rare that she did not recognize the car or driver. On a certain level, I think she felt genuinely responsible for anyone who traveled by her front door, and she certainly liked to know what was going on. I remember asking her about it one time, and her acting as if she had never really noticed it before. In retrospect, I think it was simply her way of monitoring what was going on around her, and it worked well. All of this came back to me as I wondered about our area and the significant development projects on our horizon. In the near future, we will have many things pass by our front door, and it will be up to us to get a good look at them. In my view, our community is teetering on the verge of what could be characterized as the most significant period in our history since the first ski-train rolled into town. The promise of new jobs, an expanded economic base, and the sheer opportunity associated with the investment we are attracting is enough to raise the eyebrow of even the most dedicated naysayer. Our job is to pay attention, to watch what is happening, and to take part in the shaping of our community. There are many sides to each issue, and none of them have a clear-cut answer. Whether we agree with it or not, its happening all around us, and its our job to take a look out the window to see whats going on outside.

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