Meridian Industrial

Editor's Note

5/4/2018 | Amber Wakley

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The fifth month of the year - a time when our world truly begins to bloom - has  always been my favorite. As each leaf unfolds to bring color back into our world, the physical growth of our surroundings is a gleaming reminder that we’ve finally reached the other side. I feel like I’ve been writing about the onset of spring for months and finally, it has arrived. Serving as a bridge to summer, May is the season of verdant emergence to vibrant days. The first time you hear a symphony of peepers or that moment you notice a burst of blooms - each day is greeted with great expectation. It’s like every moment is special, something to hold onto.

This month is punctuated with olfactory smells, evoking collections of my oldest memories, like the smell of lilacs, my favorite leggy-blossomed shrub that grew under my window as a kid. This time of year, naptime was always accompanied by these sweet-smelling purple flowers. Even now the thought of this fragrant cluster brings me right back to the gabled-pitched, seafoam green walls of my childhood bedroom. Even though the vibrant blossoms lasted just a few shorts weeks, their bright blaze was buoyed by the promise of change.

That’s what this season is all about - growth, evolution, change - and our stories this month are indicative of this sentiment. We began in Enfield with the Chavez family, owners of Sarapes, an authentic Mexican restaurant straddling the Massachusetts and Connecticut border. We stopped in for a bite - where the secret ingredient is family history - and to learn about their upcoming expansion. In Somers, we stopped back in to visit Copper Hill Farm, a local organic operation surging with possibilities this new season. We also hit the road with Brian Phelps, learning about his 4,000-mile trip across America on a yard sale bicycle. In East Windsor, we took a farm and garden tour with the 250th Anniversary Committee, learning about the dozens of opportunities to take part in their semiquincentennial celebration this year. This month is a wonderful opportunity to reemerge into the community, so we offered suggestions for locally grown goods, trails to explore and restaurants to dine in.

This 5th edition of 2018 represents the 42nd magazine that I have orchestrated as the editor of Go Local Magazine - the first was published in December 2014. I recently pulled out every issue created, carefully arranging them edge-to-edge across the worn hardwood slats of my dining room floor. Nearly encompassing the entire perimeter of the space that is rarely used for eating, the collection not only represented years of work, but also authentic connections to real people in our community. As I stared down at the smiles of local farmers, kiddos, cooks, families, makers and creators, I got a little wistful gazing at the faces looking back from my covers. Each served as a connection between where I’ve been and where I am today. The nostalgic wave felt bittersweet - mostly happy and energizing - but coupled with more than a tinge of sadness, knowing I had just one more cover to add to this collection. 

It’s with great confliction that I write my last editor’s note in Go Local Magazine, a publication that has been my “baby” for nearly four years. This experience has not only taught me about myself - about who I really am - but has shown me how to embrace the world around me and be inspired by the people that cross my path each day.  It has been a lesson in what I can handle (the all-consuming, little-sleep on a deadline kind), and how meaningful it is to be a part of a team. While this eclectic array of stories has always represented an inspiring neighbor, they are also depictive of a hardworking bunch.

Jacqueline Sidor has been the visual representation of this magazine since the beginning. While a personal friend from before our “Go Local days,” the collaboration of creating these pages has forged a partnership like never expected. Skirted by looming deadlines and off-the-cuff solutions to depicting a world in advance of reality, we’ve had our bit of “behind the scenes” debauchery. From bumpy rides through farmers’ fields in the bed of beat up trucks to dividing the plates of exquisite food on white linen - we’ve shared a lot. We’ve been dazzled by her talent and I’m so very thankful she has shared her unique perspective with us throughout the years. Amy White, one of our outstanding freelance writers, has also been a part of this team since early on. A ball of energy with an infectious laugh, she’s not only a connoisseur in the artistry of food, but also an aficionado for telling a good story. I’m particularly appreciative of the team at Reminder Publications, a group of folks that have graduated past colleagues to friends. In particular - Carolyn Napolitan - my trusty “quality control officer” who meticulously proofreads each publication. Keeping me in line is no easy task and I am grateful for both her brilliance and humor. There’s sheer artistry in these pages and I’m equally as indebted to the incredible team of talented designers that are led by Art Director, Beth Thurber. Also, my “work wife,” who has made sure I’m well-fed, hydrated and sane when facing monthly deadlines - I love you! And finally - to you - the faithful readers of these pages. I’ve loved writing to you over the years, your kind words and appreciation have served as an inspiration.

While my contributions to Go Local will dwindle, there’s no need to worry. I leave you in the hands of Stephanie Trombley, Carleton Whaley, Amy White and Tyler Whaley - each enthusiastic writers  and photographers who share a love of local business, makers, and creators. Together, our team of contributors will continue to share all the amazing faces and facets of the community.    

Moving on is beyond bittersweet; I’ve become incredibly attached to the places, people and pages of this publication. This project has taught me to speak from the heart and embrace every bit of happiness from experiences and relationships that kindle healthy emotions. Listen to the stories of others, share compassion, and ?be authentic. Finding your life’s purpose is like a treasure hunt and I’m incredibly grateful to have included this adventure and opportunity on my preverbal map.

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