by Patricia St. Tourangeau, Corvallis
Happy New Year, friends & neighbors! Here’s hoping 2022 brings us happiness, peace, and health. I’m adopting Montana poet Chris La Tray’s word for the year: Compassion.
It’s easy to look around and see what divides us. Yellow Gadsden “No Tread” flags fly around the valley to notify others: Don’t mess with me! Other political flags proclaim loyalty to a defeated former president who claims he was cheated of victory. Many blue and white flags flutter, symbolizing support for police, which I wholeheartedly support as the parent of a LEO. I do not fly such a flag, however, out of respect for minorities unjustly abused by the power of the badge.
I am determined to show compassion for those who believe an election lie, because it is difficult to lose. I feel compassion for those who live in close proximity to others but need to warn them: Don’t Tread on Me, my property, my beliefs. I feel compassion for our police, trying to keep us safe while coping with the misdeeds of officers in other places.
I feel lucky to live here, to hike Bitterroot trails, drive dirt roads off Skalkaho, shop at locally owned businesses. I’m glad you’re my neighbor, no matter your flag. Old Glory is simple enough for me.
Neighbor, we share common goals to keep our water clean for fishing and drinking, keep our forests free of pests and wildfire, let life amble along at a Bitterroot pace for camping, skiing, fishing, and just sitting to watch the clouds roll by.
Compassion, for those we know and those we hope to meet. For those flying yellow flags or stars and stripes.
I’m glad you’re my neighbor. Now let’s work together.