Bring on 2011


Happy New Year

2010 has been an awkward year, painful in human terms for many, in business terms for others. And yet, elbowing aside the regional, national, and global mayhem that presses in upon us and attending unwaveringly to the business of being a small, blessed community, we find that we can do a great deal for ourselves, more really, and more expeditiously, than the great world can contribute.

Still, we yearn to know, what will 2011 have for us? Certainly, there will be opportunities for Islanders to step up, to be generous, thoughtful contributors to the new year’s eventual outcome.

There will be chances to join, and even lead, the effort to design the future. There will be spats, of course, but with luck we will not let them spoil this bright promise.

There will be opportunities to reach for better solutions, to plan ahead rather than accept life’s insults on their terms. There will be an opportunity for our elected and appointed leaders to do better, to spend more wisely, to take advantage of opportunities and cooperate. There will be opportunities to pare away initiatives that do not serve a useful purpose — one has in mind county government — and build limited-purpose mechanisms that are volunteer-driven, economical, and narrowly focused.

There will be the chance to revisit such apparatus as the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to consider whether its decades-old conception suits our 2011 requirements and whether some modification may be in order.

As we contemplate a changed landscape beset with wind turbines, there will be the opportunity to consider what are the chief characteristics of this place we share and what will be the effects of such changes as these turbines will certainly impose.

We will have the opportunity to consider novel methods by which towns can use their borrowing power to help property owners fund economical long-term improvements to their houses that will, with modest investments, reduce expensive energy bills, without impositions on neighbors or the Vineyard landscape.

You might say that this uneasy year’s end, though it is not the gleeful occasion we wished it would be, begins a new occasion to do better, be smarter, make better choices, avoid heedless enthusiasms, and improve the lives we all live. It is a moment of challenge and promise, with so much to do and so little settled.

So, we say, Happy New Year, and bring it on.