|The Lights that Unite Us
As the carol says, there's no place like home for the holidays, and we love spending Christmas in Chesapeake Country. But at Bay Weekly, that's our one week off a year. So some years, we go off exploring the wide world.
(Don't worry: you won't miss any papers. On December 28, you'll get our favorite issue, Bay Weekly's year in review. Then on January 4, like the two-faced Roman god Janus, Vol. IX, No. 1 will be looking two ways: Back to the Cream of the Weird, as we do every year, and ahead into what's ever in store in 2001.)
A couple of years ago, our explorations took us to Oaxaca, Mexico. We landed in that historic city on Christmas Eve. Shaking off jet lag, we emerged into a city square of magic and light and as full of people as Annapolis on First Night. Just before midnight, the processions started, and we followed dancing saints and angels - some of them twice as tall as everyday people - through the dark night into the light of Christmas Day and the uncharted territory of a new year.
Those memories stirred this week as, preparing the final number - No. 52- of Volume VIII of Bay Weekly, we revisited all the territory we'd covered in the year 2000. (You'll make that journey back through time yourself next week.)
It came to us that, just as we had that magical night in Oaxaca, we've traveled in good company throughout the year 2000. For all of us who make and read this weekly newspaper are united in the same celebration, which is being alive in Chesapeake Country at the beginning of the 21st century. Whether we buy the ads or sell the ads, write the words or read the words, this weekly paper gives us black and white proof of who we are and where we've been.
New people are always joining the parade, being born to or moving into Chesapeake Country, maybe even coming to work at Bay Weekly. That's a good thing, for others are always leaving. Some, like ad reps Kathy Flaherty and Kitty O'Dowd and our long-time calendar editor Mark Burns, are simply taking off on new journeys. Mark's journey back to University of Maryland is close enough that he'll keep contributing, writing bigger and better stories. Kathy's journey, to Fresh Fields, keeps her a neighbor and friend. Kitty's journey is an adventure, taking her family all the way to Italy.
Other friends have taken far longer journeys in the year 2000. Looking back, we see we've written 10 farewells this year - and said many more. We know not where these journeys end, but we think of our friends who have gone before like the Oaxacan saints who, larger than life, lead and light our ways.
With the winter solstice upon us, it's a dark time of year. But just like that square in Oaxaca, friends and neighbors have illuminated Chesapeake Country so that we follow paths of light as we make our ways home in the early dark. These lights are gifts we give to one another, adorner to appreciator, that seem to unite us in a tide of hope for what's ever ahead.