Bright Spots in a Dark Year

We offer some personal thoughts on what’s gone right in this year of going wrong. Happy holidays from us!

John Duncan, 5enses Publisher — With all that has and is happening this year, it's important to look to the bright side of life. I asked some of our regular contibutors to highlight their personal positives of 2020.

For me, it's been how I've been able to adapt to the changing priorities of life's to-do list, and focusing on what I can change rather than what I can't. I'm making this a mantram for 2021, and sticking with what I can do to help our community.

Steven Ayres, Editor — It's been striking with how often I’ve seen the people of our communities reaching out to help one another, businesses and institutions adapting their plans, methods and missions to meet unanticipated needs, and community leaders and citizens stepping up and getting involved to demand better decisions from our political leaders. The decision by Arizona’s Christmas City to cancel the holiday events was a very difficult choice for many, and it demonstrates that we’re taking this pandemic more seriously.

At 5enses this need to adapt has been a very positive force, pushing us to invest in online and social presence and opening our pages to more immediate, newsy stories told from unique angles. Reader, contributor and advertiser responses have all been encouraging in this, and while our identity remains firmly in arts and culture, our vision of what that encompasses is expanding with our readership.

Chef Molly Beverly — Bright spot for 2020? That would be the burst of enthusiasm for growing, cooking and preserving real food. I loved that stores ran out of beans and grains, flour and yeast. People were cooking, maybe even baking bread. Seed companies sold out of seeds. Imagine, more home gardening than ever! The Farmer’s Market got hit with a run on local food. Growers were selling out. Wow, cooking, gardening, local-food heaven! I hope this bright spot continues into Spring 2021 and people return to these practices, not out of panic or pandemic, but out of joy!

Erica Ryberg — Eleven months into 2020, my husband got the call. On its face, it was neither momentous nor life-changing, just the precious and routine Sunday call from his faraway sister. But today, she had some news to share. She found out she was pregnant in June (June!). And now, she continued, lying in her arms at that very moment, was a baby daughter named Nora. The year has made us into many things: activists, risk managers, and now, aunt and uncle. A baby conceived at the start of the pandemic, discovered in its second wave, and birthed into a changing world is the blessing we didn't know we desperately needed.

Lesley Aine McKeown, Online Editor — In late July my first dahlia blossoms began to open, each colorful petal slowly arching back to reveal the complex pattern unique to each type of flower, a stunning process to

behold. As the summer progressed more flowers bloomed and it got very hot. Dahlias don’t really like very hot weather, but, much like all of us, they persevered, well into October. This bit of color and majesty gave me something unexpected during this stressful, isolated time: peace.

Nurturing my flowers and being rewarded so spectacularly were more precious to me than words can express, and I reflect now on this and smile, knowing that next year my dahlias will perform again, quite unaware of their priceless gift.

Stan Bindell — Working with 5enses during the past year has been a great experience. 5enses focuses on culture, arts, sciences and ideas, something that no other newspaper or media brings to the Prescott area. This is needed, as there is not enough support for the arts in the Prescott area. It has given me a chance to write about my hikes in Hiking Yavapai, and the well done webcast by 5enses was deeply appreciated.

Abby Brill, Associate Editor — This past year has been for me one of the darkest in my life, with regard to the direction our country and our city are moving in. For me a bright spot that comes to mind is the vigil in late. May to remember George Floyd and the horrible, unjust death he suffered. This vigil was hastily organized by a couple of young girls over just a few days, but when we showed up on the Courthouse Square there were maybe 700 of us. Many wept, and at one point we all took a knee for nine minutes, the same amount of time that a knee was held down on Floyd’s neck, suffocating him. Sad as it was, I felt encouraged that so many of us locally felt the need to both gather and acknowledge this tragedy, and address it legally. It gives me hope that we can all have compassion for all others and the courage to speak against injustice.

Anne Glasser — In our family of four, we all have health issues; for three of us they’re significant. Before Covid we found that shopping online for things is so much easier then going to a store. When it came to groceries, though, we had to go to a store, which was extremely stressful because of our health issues. For our family, the best thing about Covid is that more and more stores are offering curbside pickup, Instacart, or like Walmart with their store pickup. Now we go online, order what we need, and don’t have to go in! We’ve been very grateful for this.

Adam England — I had considered quitting my job over the past few years, but until 2020 threw everything it could at us, I did not feel I was ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship, which I finally did in July. After adapting to family/work/school/life in a completely new way, I knew that if I could tackle 2020 and succeed, I could project myself to almost anything. This year brought me renewed focus, confidence, determination, and respect for everyone out there hustling to not only stay afloat, but come out on top.

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