Letter to the Editor: One Resident’s Concern about Article 10-A Heavy Heart

~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.” 

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Mark Mullins
November 17, 2022 10:07 pm

Thank you Janet! So well said. For what it’s worth, most people I spoke with respected those on the “other side”. Those driving the debate, on both sides, seemed to be appealing to personal feelings about what Bedford once was, or should be, as a way to increase turnout. Those emotions can drive us apart, or bring us together.

Marge Heckman
November 17, 2022 6:35 pm

Thank you for your beautiful words Janet. I too hope we can find ways to support each other and move forward beyond all the acrimony.

Mark Bailey
November 17, 2022 8:14 am

We have so much in common. We all want what is best for our town and for the environment. We all want health and safety, for ourselves and our children. We all agree that the reformatory branch corridor is a treasure. We love trees, and we want to be among them.

November 17, 2022 6:39 am

Looking through an alternative lens, I experienced the November 14 2022 Town Meeting as a Gold Standard in citizen discourse. The Moderator’s skill was nothing short of exceptional. Diverse voices and perspectives were respectfully spoken and heard. Privately alleged individual disagreements, ad hominem bullying and juvenile behaviors were not in evidence. It was humbling to see the less confident “public speakers” step up to the microphone and be heard. Likewise, it was inspiring to hear elocutionists present their concerns and perspectives.
I feel privileged to live in a town where bottom-up governance still prevails.

Last edited 1 year ago by BritsArmymom
Chris Wojnar
November 16, 2022 9:44 pm

Maybe we can all grow together by co-creating a project that will serve the needs of many. I appreciate that vision.

Heather Randhahn
November 16, 2022 12:39 pm

Well spoken. Thank you.

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