Down East 2013 ©
Emily Dickinson wrote that “hope is the thing with feathers.” Woody Allen responded by titling one of his books Without Feathers.
Myself, I’ve always been equal parts optimist and pessimist. While I’ve generally had low expectations for my own life, I tend to look on the bright side when it comes to the world at large. It’s hard to argue for optimism at this current moment in history — with jobless rates at highs not seen since the 1980s. Who among us looks forward to opening our 401(k) statements anymore?
But our new president ran on a campaign of hope, and where better to look for it than in the place itself? This issue features a profile of the Maine town by that name. The community of Hope sits amid the Camden Hills between Rockport and Appleton (which jokingly advertises itself as being “beyond Hope”), and when we say it has become one of Maine’s hippest places, we mean it. Read Virginia Wright’s article [page 50] and decide for yourself what lessons your own town might learn from its can-do example.
At dire moments like this one, nature can also provide inspiration. Spring takes its sweet time returning to Maine, but each year it always lazily finds its way back here. Consider the wildflowers, says wildflower expert Wanda Garland [page 60]. Kim Ridley, who profiled Garland for us, used to be the editor in chief of Hope magazine, a defunct publication dedicated to the concept that the world is full of ordinary heroes — real people addressing real concerns. Hope the magazine might be gone, but its spirit lives on in people like professor Paul Mayewski [page 56], director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine. His predictions about what the future might mean for Maine — more ice storms, rising seas — are nerve-wracking. And yet I take comfort in his own optimism. In this time of crisis he sees an opportunity to repair our relationship with the world through investment in renewable energy and mass transportation.
Editor in Chief