Look up

For sky watchers, there’s a kind of morbid fascination with keeping track of the progressively shortening days in the lead up to the solstice and the first day of winter next week. By next week we will have tilted as far away from the sun as we’re going to and we’ll begin to turn back to it.

December, like November, offers its own celestial gifts. Amazing things happen to sunsets, dawn, moonrises and the night sky. There’s a clarity to the constellations that makes you stop what you’re doing just to look. If the dogs bark at nothing in the night, waking up the humans, take the time to check out the night sky.

In the mornings when the sun peeks over the horizon at such a low angle, it lights the west-flanking slope of the Greens with a perfect Alpen glow. That, like the ruby red dawn and the pink to purple sunset, is fleeting. You have to make time to watch, but first you have to look up.


It’s commendable when people are willing to look beyond their current opinions to really listen and then change their actions based on what they heard.

That’s the hallmark of a good legislator, and a good elected official – to be willing to listen to constituent voices and adjust behaviors after taking the time to listen.

That’s what happened this week at the Fayston Select Board when one board member voted in favor of the town adopting a mask requirement after hearing from members of the business community that they favored it – even if it is not enforceable – because it will help keep staff, visitors and community members safer.

This board member, Chuck Martel, had expressed concerns about the town adopting a masking requirement that couldn’t be enforced, suggesting that it wasn’t good policy. And maybe in nonpandemic times, he’d be right. But we’re still in a pandemic and the virus and our visitors do not see the boundary lines for our towns. Consistency on mask-wearing across our towns is important, as is this measure of support for local business owners who asked for such town support.

Martel heard his constituents and let their concerns change his mind. That’s commendable.