Drawing by Peter Bruun

“There are three things, after all, that a poem must reach: the eye, the ear, and what we may call the heart or the mind. It is most important of all to reach the heart of the reader.”

—Robert Frost

Close readers of Yarrow & Cleat will notice a change in our masthead this issue.

Our publication was previously described as “a chronicle of resilience and hope from the Boothbay Region.” Now, we are “a chronicle for hope, healing, and humanity from Boothbay and beyond.”

Why the change?

First, a bit of recent history.

When we first conceived of Yarrow & Cleat in late March of this year, the coronavirus pandemic was brand new to the region—as much uncertainty as we live with at present, there was more then. Everywhere we turned, the news was disorienting and disturbing. We believed a dose of resilience and hope might help us see our way through, and that is what we sought to provide: a chronicle of resilience and hope from the Boothbay Region.

Today—three months later—the world has transformed again.

We wonder: how can our children safely return to school this fall and allow parents to go to work? With COVID-19 cases exploding across the country, is the return of high fatality rates not far behind? As well as Maine has been doing, might the contagion spread here with force? Meanwhile, social justice and equity questions rage on, our country embroiled in hot emotion stoked by an almost-unprecedented partisan political climate. All this as for the 16th week in a row more than one million Americans filed unemployment claims.

Yarrow & Cleat has but a small voice, yet in the light of all this we are determined to do what we can for the good of all.

For the good of all.

Thus, we move from passively being of something (“resilience and hope”) to actively being for something (“hope, healing, and humanity”).

On top of that, we are experiencing anew how borderless our lives have become: what happens in Minneapolis wends its way to influencing a gathering at Boothbay Common; we watch rising COVID cases in other states knowing they may very well have some bearing on our stores remaining open. Paying attention to what lies beyond while retaining our local identity seems important. Thus: Boothbay and beyond.

Change starts at the top—quite literally, in this week’s issue of Yarrow & Cleat.

Below our new masthead are articles reflecting our clarified purpose: our two-part story in Neighbor Tales about Keith Arvanitis inspires hope, healing, and humanity—a trifecta of purpose met; for Art Spot, we reach beyond with Baltimore artist Nancye Hesaltyne, whose daily art practice offers a model for healing any of us might follow; in Nature’s Way, we turn to wild blueberries for a dose of hope, sharing our delight in this native fruit’s dependable bounty. And we welcome to our Corner Table guest contributor Patricia McHold, whose meditation on birds, gardening, and patience is nothing if not balm.

Collectively: hope, healing, and humanity.

We need this—our region needs this.

And though this particular moment seems especially rife with discord and angst, there is no expiration date on hope, healing, and humanity: all three are essential elements of our wellbeing. Always.

For the bereaved widower, locked in and lonely, fearful of COVID-19 news… for the lobsterman alarmed at the collapsing industry, not knowing what might come next, or if he can stay in business at all… for the young person trapped in a cycle of substance misuse, desperate for a way out from her living hell and not having a clue how to find the exit door, much less a loving embrace… for the new restaurant owner, working to exhaustion each day, chronically caught between fear of catching the virus and having to shut down by Governor’s order… for you and your heart: hope, healing, and humanity.

In delivering this to you, our reader, we consider our mission served.