Things go wrong sometimes. That’s always of interest to reporters and editors. We’re tuned to ask what happened and tell the story of how things came apart.
It’s good to keep in mind, though, that sometimes things actually go right. This morning we heard from reporter Paul Benson, who covered Provincetown’s annual town meeting on Monday evening. He spent the night writing about it and wanted to say, before crashing, how excellent it had been. People are ready to get together, distancing, masks, and all, and get things done. The appetite for civic life is strong.
When we checked our inboxes, there were notes from lots of people wanting to renew their subscriptions. That seemed lovely, until it dawned on us that this meant our subscription system (which we don’t fully understand) had fired off an automatic renewal message to several hundred people who have been with us since the beginning, when we first began publishing weekly, 52 weeks ago. We’ve been trying to figure out how to get ready for the renewal blitz. We aren’t quite ready yet. Oh, well.
Late in the day, as our weekly deadline was bearing down, the lights flickered and went out here at our house in Wellfleet. We texted friends in Provincetown and Truro: all good there. And our design team in Eastham: fine there, too. But we had hours of work to get the paper done.
So, we packed up and headed across town for electricity and an internet connection. On the way, we passed a fast-moving brush fire filling the roadside and the bone-dry field under the power lines. One of the lines had come down, we learned later, knocking out our power.
One neighbor who we checked with about the outage texted: “Oh jeez — 2020 is killing us!”
It’s easy to feel that way right now.
The news of the world, and especially from Washington, is hard to take. It feels crushingly depressing. But the news right here has plenty of reminders of our resilience. Our kids and their teachers are going back to school. Sports teams and their coaches are helping each other learn new rules to be able to keep playing. Young people are peacefully calling for more civic engagement in local government as a way to fight systemic injustice and inequity. Outer Cape people are doing the things that science tells us will stop the spread of the coronavirus — and it’s working.
We are surrounded by inspiring neighbors, like Miah Nate Johnson, who don’t let setbacks stop them from living lives of art, meaning, and joy.
It does feel sometimes as if 2020 is killing us, and the toll of the virus is truly heartbreaking. But after 52 weeks of reporting on our community and its strengths — and weaknesses — I have to conclude that there is a lot of life left in us.