Fall sunset by Peter Vankevich.

November ushers in the season in which we give thanks and reflect.

The weather is cooler, and the glare of summer has given way to wonderful late afternoon fall lighting and award-winning sunset photos.

It’s a time for calming down and lessening stress.

We can give thanks for another great year in which our livelihood – tourism – has held in the waning COVID-19 pandemic and that no major hurricanes aimed for our island since Hurricane Dorian hit Sept. 6, 2019.

For the most part, the village is faring well while trying to address the challenges of living on an island – transportation issues, affordable housing issues, not enough help.

Some islanders have moved on and newcomers have purchased homes and relocated to this place which they may have fantasized about for years.

But to get to a sense of peacefulness and gratefulness, there is a major speed bump to cross.
Will we truly have a season of thanks?

These new families bring new energy and, we hope, willingness to contribute to the community.

So, we are thankful that Ocracoke continues to rebound, that new energy continues to flow.

But to get to a sense of peacefulness and gratefulness, there is a major speed bump to cross — the Nov. 8 election.

All indications are that many are concerned and worried about our future as demonstrated by unusually high early voter turnouts in a nonpresidential election.

There is much uncertainty over what will happen on election day and afterwards and whether the political losers and their supporters will accept the results.

Many of us would prefer politics be just one of many issues in our lives and not the obsession of news cycles and barrage from social media that it has become.

The reaction to the election and the aftermath will determine how we as a nation will have that spirit of gratefulness come Thanksgiving. 

Then there is the sound of distant thunder — the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now dragging on for nine months.

It is heart wrenching to watch the destruction of a country by drone missiles. On top of that is the threat of nuclear war there and from North Korea.

Those of us “of a certain age” can recall the great worry of nuclear war in the early 1960s and it is disheartening to have that worry return.

To play off John Donne, yes, Ocracoke is an “island entire of itself”; but it also is linked to the continent, “a part of the main.”  

What happens elsewhere happens to us.

“Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

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