Column: Warm day brings back optimistic thoughts

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on March 5, 2009

There’s nothing like a beautiful day to perpetuate optimism.

I arrived early for a meeting Thursday with Janet Safanda of the the League of Women Voters of Geneva-St. Charles to discuss preparation for the candidate forums being held in St. Charles on March 15 and Geneva on March 22.

The extra time gave me the chance to walk through downtown Geneva on what turned on to be a gorgeous day.

After a long winter, it was just what the doctor prescribed. People were out everywhere. Smiles were abundant. Pictures of summer festivals danced in my head. I could almost smell the lingonberry pie I dunked my face into during the pie-eating contest during Swedish Days last summer. I arrived at my meeting, spirits lifted, optimism running at full steam.

All this on a day when the news on Wall Street was anything but uplifting and General Motors continued to worry people with its down outlook.

It felt like spring today, and that was all I needed to shovel the gloom and doom aside.

One of my favorite stories growing up was the Greek tale of the goddess Persephone. Taken against her will to the underworld by the god Hades, Persephone eventually is released, but not before eating some of the food of the underworld, which forces her to return to the underworld for certain months of year. (Greek myths just sound weirder and weirder the older I get.) Essentially, when she is on Earth, the world blooms; and when she must return to the underworld, it wilts away.

I always felt bad for Persephone, but worse for myself. If only she hadn’t eaten any of those pomegranate seeds, I wouldn’t have to deal with winter anymore.

As I grew older (and learned proximity to the sun changes the seasons, not Greek gods), I grew to appreciate the story more – the joys of renewal, the rewards of optimism in dark times.

Here at the Chronicle, we’re getting ready to unveil some big changes. We’re switching from a broadsheet to a tabloid format and from printing seven days a week to printing five days a week. And although we’re proud of the product we’ll unveil on March 17 and feel it will be a better product for our community, especially the weekend edition, there certainly are a few concerns about how community members will react to it.

But I’m optimistic that readers will recognize it for what it is — a superior product that will better reach out to those in the Tri-Cities, Elburn, Sugar Grove and other towns that feed into the Kaneland school district. A truly local newspaper.

It’s what we should have been for a long time now. It’s a change for the better. It’s spring for the Chronicle.

And on a day like Thursday, I don’t know about you, but I felt like all of us could accomplish anything.

Now, certainly I know optimism alone won’t fix the economy.

And I know optimism alone won’t help the new Chronicle succeed.

Hard work, determination and focus will be the main ingredients of both of those recipes.

But a pinch of optimism certainly won’t hurt. And it just might help the other ingredients cook faster.

Joe Grace is the editor of the Chronicle. Contact him at jgrace@kcchronicle.com or 630-845-5368.

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