This past Monday as temperatures climbed into the 40's, lots
of people swore they smelled Spring, and maybe they
did. We all have our own particular attunements, and some
no doubt do smell seasons before others. Some of the sensibilities
we express reflect the deep mysteries of who we just seem
to be, often from birth, our inexplicable individuality. Other
sensibilities though, reflect what we've been taught and what
we've learned from experience. Most of us have learned a decent
amount, though few us know as much as we used to. But what
we have learned, and how we've come to feel about things,
are definitely worth sharing.
There's a lot going on in the public sphere these days. Everyone's
got the right to comment on what they see happening in their
community and their region, maybe even an obligation.
And when we do speak, we all have the right to say what we're
thinking and to be heard for what we're saying. And we all,
also, have the obligation to realize that what we say has
a real effect on the world in which we live.
Olive's turnout for the Belleayre Resort public hearings was
impressive, not just for the solidarity of views expressed
but for the thoughtfulness and the passion and the clarity
of values evidenced by so many who chose to speak. The fact
that people turned out in very large numbers was of course
significant, and many folks afterwards commented on their
reinforced sense of community, and their relief that so many
of their neighbors seemed to feel as they did.
Some time later, many of us read an account of one of the
hearings in the NY Times, with just enough of a suggestion
of condescension to show us that we are indeed, more different
and more complex as a place, than first-time city visitors
are likely to take in. Most of us would likely dispute
that people's feelings for the land here in Olive bear much
relation to " vegan, Zen-infused, countercultural way
of life" the Times suggested some may have come here
for. In fact for many, the deep feelings for these mountains
evidenced of late reflect ties to the land that go back generations.
And for many more, perhaps for most, they reflect the solid
values that have shaped who each of us, as adults and by choice,
have turned out to be. And it turns out that as a whole and
as a collective, we're a community with some pretty impressive
credentials by way of the values we share.
It also turns out that those who showed up to speak out on
the project have made a difference already. Due in some part
to the overwhelming public sentiment expressed, as we go to
press the Department of Environmental Conservation has announced
that the public comment period of the resort project has been
extended until April 23, along with the deadline for groups
and municipalities to file for party status to the projects
expected hearings phase.
There will be one more opportunity for people to speak out:
the final public hearing at Onteora High School, which begins
at 4:00 PM, next Thursday Feb.19.