/Hearts and bones

Hearts and bones

By Emily Stonehouse

You’re not really supposed to write about seasonal things in an editorial. It’s usually supposed to be some sort of stance. And in writing editorials, it turns out that I have no shortage of opinions. 

With some, readers agree with me. Others, I hear at length about how folks think I am wrong. I welcome feedback in all forms, because I appreciate the conversations. 

The editorial is generally the last item we work on for the paper. After we’ve read, at length, the content, the stories, the contributions. I watch what gets folks fired up throughout the week; a little notebook in my purse with the spine heavily cracked, jotting down ideas for what to write next based on the calm or the chaos of the community. 

I sometimes wish I could travel back in time, and tell 12-year-old Emily that she has a job where she reads every day. That kid who would get lost in books, who would create characters and comics and convictions. Her heart wasn’t on her sleeve; it was nestled within the pages of a book. 

Sometimes we have columns in the paper with heart, but really, the nature of a newspaper is to be the bones of a community. The bits and pieces that build the body of a town, and hold it upright. Council meetings, AGMs, financial reports, strategic plans. There is weight to each and every one of these news items. 

They create the community we know and love, but they are just the bones. 

So instead of snapping bones this week, I took a step back, and wanted to take a look at the heart of the newspaper. I reflected on the month of December, and how I have written about families who have received miracles, fundraisers that have surpassed their goals, and new businesses that are wading into the world of Minden. 

The heart and soul of a community are the pieces that make it tick. The faces we see at the post office, the sounds we hear at holiday concerts, the way the lights sparkle downtown when the sun dips its head just after 4 p.m.

There’s so much more to a community than its bones. And so often, we forget that. 

As 2023 winds down, I look back on a year of editorials. We will all be reminded in the new year when the Times runs its annual Year in Review, but as I personally sit with a cup of tea in my little office, I think about the big ticket items I tackled. Protests, counter protests, heightened need for food banks, deaths of local friends and relatives, questionable council decisions, and of course, an ER closure. 

I bet 12-year-old Emily wasn’t planning on reading all that. 

In this role, you can easily get bogged down by the bones. The hurt. The sadness. It happens. 

But this time of year, more than any other time, I find it’s easier to step back and see the world through the eyes of a 12-year-old. To look beyond the hurt, and see the heroes, beyond the sadness, and see the sparkles, beyond the bones, and see the heart. 

And while I am not always supposed to write about seasonal items, I felt like this was worth sharing. To get it out into the world that with every bad, there is good. With every sting, there is a song. With every swing of the pendulum, it always finds its way back. 

Thank you, to our readers, for following along on our journey this year. For supporting our paper, for asking those questions, for proving that print is indeed not dead, and for reminding us to take a step back, and look at life through the lens of a 12-year-old. 

Because while we need our bones to stand, our heart is what keeps us alive.