To the editor:

As we leave the dog days of summer behind us, I’m sure we’re all anxious to put a pandemic 2020 behind us. There is also no denying the unprecedented societal activity we have witnessed this summer. Top it off with what might be one the most polarizing election cycles in U.S. history and it could paint a pretty bleak picture of life.

Here is where I want to change the narrative and reflect on some positives I have witnessed this year and remind myself why I have reason to be optimistic going forward and how we can keep it going.

Neighborhood Walks -

I have met many new people/neighbors and seen more families this year than any in recent memory. How nice is it to see families spending time together, just taking a walk or playing ball?

Police Outreach -

Another thank you to the wonderful things our police are doing and take part in. They’ve been mainstays at the Rt 111/Old Mine Park area, roving the trails on bikes, ATVs and motorcycles - all in an effort to keep recreation open and available to us since spring. They dedicate resource officers to the public schools, sponsor a variety of programs to engage with the youth in town, among other things, all in hopes of fostering and building working and trusting relationships in our community.

Power Outages -

I witnessed a couple of very notable incidents around storm cleanup and power restoration which keeps my optimism alive. I saw people offering coolers of cold beverages to the utility repairmen and I saw people waving and clapping when some National Guard trucks were driving through town helping to clean up storm damage - a very welcome respite from the barrage of “who can I sue because I have no power.”

9/11 Tribute Ride -

I was fortunate enough to participate in a scaled down version of the CT United Ride this year to honor the memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11.

All too often we are consumed with day to day sensationalizing, sound-bite news with very little positivity. I often wonder, as I’m sure you do, how can we flip the script? Where do we start? Maybe if we just start small and hearken to the old adage “Pay It Forward” that will be a simple thing we can all do to get the ball rolling.

Next time, maybe just say “Thank You” and hold the door open for the person behind you, let that car pull out into traffic in front of you, buy the person next to you that cup of coffee. I promise you will feel better for having done so and its a positive first step.

Tracy Vonick