By Laura Keil, Publisher

Our Christmas cactus starting flowering last week. Fuchsia pedals with translucent styles. I was sitting beside it in our armchair one morning after waking up hours before sunrise and thought what an odd thingâ€a plant that blossoms when sunlight dwindles.

Some things are like thatâ€they blossom when things get dark and the need arises. They bloom not despite of adversity but because of it. And this year has shown me that shared adversity can do some pretty wondrous things.

The week the first shut-downs were announced in March, I went into shock. I remember spending a good amount of time on my couch crying. I pictured 10 years of newspaper work crumbling before me. I imagined all our advertisers pulling out and our newspaper sales dropping and being forced to make impossible choices, or simply shut down.

But after the shock wore off, I jotted down some ideas. And I decided we’d keep going as long as we could. I knew other businesses were mulling their choices too. And if one shut down it could cause a cascade of others to close their doors.

So we hung tight and helping hands began to arrive. Community partners and sponsors and our rock solid advertisers who hung in there and have weathered the storm with us. I am immensely grateful to all of the people and businesses who went out of their way to support us or even just asked how we were doing. In turn, we have looked for ways to give back, and you know what? It feels like we’re on an upward spin cycle of cooperation, support and solidarity.

If there’s one thing I’m holding onto from this period it’s thatâ€the urgent support for one another. We know something is on the line. But there’s always something on the line. The heart of our community doesn’t lie inside usâ€it lies between us.

At winter solstice, the black sky anchors us morning and night in our separate corners. But I stare out and see the Christmas lightsâ€and it’s the brightness I see.