I praised the Advertiser coffees as the place where a town comes together. In June I took a break from this weekly fret over New Canaan’s short-term concerns. In June we graduate, marry, retire, reflect and recharge.
In 1914, at 73 years old, Claude Monet had established himself among the greatest artists of all time. Each of his paintings sold for what a Senator earned in a year. Nearly blind, he could have retired. Instead, he had a big idea and spent the last dozen years of his life working feverishly on eight large paintings. Too large for most walls, strange to collectors, and not particularly relevant to a world gripped by 40 million deaths in the First World War, views of a pond in his garden were considered a failure by many. They were hung in a dark room and mostly ignored. It would not be until 30 more years passed that we would begin to understand and appreciate. One hundred years later, 1 million people visit Monet’s Water Lilly paintings each year in Paris’s Orangerie Museum. These paintings are among his greatest works. (a small version recently sold for $54 million.)
June is for reflection, introspection and big thoughts. It is a time of renewal and optimism, a chance to re-assess and then to look forward — sometimes way back and way forward. During graduations at New Canaan High School, the College of William & Mary, Elon University and the 600-year old University of St. Andrews, I was reminded of the many blessings we enjoy and filled with an optimism for our future. New Canaan senior Kathleen Reeves said it beautifully: “Combined we can solve the problems we all have our sight set on solving, combined we can raise valleys to new heights, combined we can make what’s wrong, right. Class of 2019, we have power inside and among us that we are ready to ignite.”
Thank you, retiring educators Joanne Rocco, Ari Rothman, and Richard Webb for more than 100 years of combined service to New Canaan’s students. Start your next grand painting.
Welcome new recruits Erin McCarthy, Emily Clark, Joseph Schinella and Giancarlo Vincenzi to New Canaan’s Police force. Our 218-year old town and 130-year old department look forward to the next 100 years of your service.
New Canaan’s Town Council will also begin to take the long view. We are reassessing our role in Town Government. We will begin to define for the public our long-term goals and objectives, setting expectations and priorities at the beginning of every budget year and evaluating our progress periodically. We run the risk of becoming complainers and critics. We want to do more and have convened the first two of many meetings designed to improve the process and, again to quote, “make what’s wrong, right.”
New Canaan is looking back on 50 years of extraordinary growth and prosperity, one of the nation’s great towns with a legacy of low taxes, great schools and great beauty. Like many of our volunteering and retiring citizens, like our graduates, like our recruits, and like Claude Monet at 73 it is time to begin work on our next masterpiece.