~Submitted by Janet Powers
I write this before knowing which side has won, and I sit here with a heavy heart.
The votes have been cast, some of us are elated with victory others are exhausted and depleted by defeat.
My heart is heavy for those folks who have not been able to use, or are uncomfortable on, the current dirt or stone dust path—if this article did not pass, access will continue to be a challenge and there will be a deep loss for you.
My heart is heavy for those folks who currently use the path, who find the quieter and slower pace of the narrow dirt trail a place for physical, mental and spiritual solace and growth—if this article passed, there will be a deep loss for you.
My heart is heavy for those folks who have worked long and hard, to address the global climate crisis and reduce traffic on our roads—if this article did not pass, there will be a deep loss for you.
My heart is heavy for those who speak for those without a voice or vote, the plants and animals and the billions upon billions of soil microbes whose lives, intertwined and untold, contribute to the well-being of all; and if this article passed, there will be a deep loss for you and the life you are working to preserve.
My heart hangs heaviest for a community divided. We at town meeting 10+ years ago had the opportunity to engage all voices. To choose the messy, challenging process of co-creating a path that could better address the concerns of many. While designing a path that meets everyone’s ideal is likely impossible, true engagement is an opportunity for a community to grow together.
My sincerest hope is to find a way to listen deeply to one another and find slivers of commonality to build upon. We have a country divided—is this what we want for our town? Isn’t it worth the time and challenge to bring the voices of Bedford together. What would happen if the first step in proposing a project would be to engage neighbors and those most affected? One small step we can all take immediately is to stop name calling, maybe even lose the acronym NIMBY and revive those bumper stickers “The most radical thing we can do is introduce people to one another.”