To the Editor,
When my husband and I were looking for a new place to live we decided that, in addition to good schools, our new town would also need to have a good bookstore and a bakery. With all of these, a MetroNorth station, and natural beauty everywhere you looked, Pawling stole my heart the very first time I visited. Now that I’ve lived here for fifteen years I’ve learned another great thing about our town. As much as I appreciate nature and terrific baked goods, what I find remarkable about Pawling is that it is a real community – not just a town.
The word “community” can mean different things. It can refer to a group of people who simply share a common living space. But it can also mean the sense of fellowship created by a sharing of common goals. Each year I’ve lived here I’ve seen more examples of people coming together to create something we can all enjoy – the community-wide garage sale day, the arts and crafts festival, a thriving farmers market.
Now we have, once again, a wonderful local newspaper and a radio station to boot. If you read the last issue of The Pawling Record you know that, soon, a tower will be up and WPWL will be broadcasting to thousands of people in our area. (You can already listen to it live in town or stream it on your computer.)
Volunteers give their time to share their love of music, their professional expertise, and to interview members of the community involved in all sorts of fascinating things. On October 24, the radio station is sponsoring a meet-the-candidate event. I hope a lot of Pawling residents will be there –especially kids. They will be able to see that government is made up of actual humans –their neighbors, the parents or grandparents of their schoolmates – coming together to talk about the issues facing us in our community. This is an incredibly valuable experience. This is democracy in action!
It’s easy to take all this for granted, but the hard truth is that the people who make these things happen need our support and involvement. The volunteers at WPWL worked very hard to raise money to put up the tower, but there will continue to be costs. There are many ways you can help. If you own a business you can sponsor a show – there are many to choose from on subjects as diverse as health, spirituality, and cooking. Or you can purchase a membership for just $20 a year ($30 for a family). If everyone who reads this goes to pawlingpublicradio.org and buys a membership, it could help ensure the station’s survival for many months to come.
The beautiful thing about living in a community like Pawling, is that we can be a community in both senses: Although we come from all walks of life with different opinions, we can come together to help make living in Pawling enriching for all of us. Many studies show that a feeling of connectedness to community and good social relations are keys to happiness and good mental health. Whether it’s participating in a walk-a-thon to support our local resource center, attending a chili cook-off, or tuning in to WPWL, they’re all reminders that we are all part of something bigger. No matter what’s going on around the world (or on Facebook!), we do all live together here, and we all deserve to live in a place where we feel connected to our fellow men and women.