Commentary, Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Happy New Year!  A new year brings renewed hope for the future but doesn’t leave the past completely behind.  If the past is prologue, as Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, we have a lot to build on, and not necessarily all good.  But perhaps that’s why New Year’s resolutions were created – an opportunity to accomplish goals that were set in the past, but never achieved, and establish new goals that might, but probably won’t, be achieved in full measure.  Nonetheless, it is the nature of humankind to reach farther and further in whatever quest is identified, whether space travel or world peace.

Since most of us are not involved in space travel or world peace (although you could say that, living in the National Capital Region, some of our neighbors may be active participants in those arenas), resolutions frequently are more mundane, and achievable – lose weight, learn another language, get a new job or a dog, be nicer to so-and-so, etc.  The slate is clean and ready for new lists of activities and challenges for 2023. 

For Fairfax County, I hope that everyone will make a New Year’s resolution to travel more safely, whether driving, walking, bicycling, or even scootering.  Drivers, slow down and pay attention to your peripheral vision.  Remember to turn on your headlights at dusk or earlier.  Sometimes you are closer to that pedestrian than you realize.  Drivers and pedestrians alike need to stay off their devices.  It’s a state law in Virginia for drivers, not for those walking, but we probably all have seen pedestrians talking on their phones or reading something on their screens at the same time they are crossing the street, totally oblivious to traffic.  Use the crosswalk, wear something white or light at night (a scarf or cap works fine) so that drivers can see you, and pay attention to your surroundings.  Even with headlights on, a driver may not see you until it’s too late.  In all of 2021, there were 12 pedestrian deaths recorded in Fairfax County; as of last week, there were 23 pedestrian deaths in 2022, a statistic headed in the wrong direction.  Death did not discriminate: the victims were male and female, of many ethnicities, and ranged in age from teen-aged students to long-retired senior citizens – almost a textbook cross-section of Fairfax County. 


Another resolution may be easy to achieve, with many options to fit individual preferences.  Use 2023 as an opportunity to explore the many parks in Fairfax County, as well as other parks in the region, including many national park facilities – we have a surfeit of great parks, and most are free.  The newest Fairfax County Park is in the Bailey’s Crossroads area.  The Boyd and Charlotte Hogge Park opened this fall after years of planning.  The park is located at 3139 Glen Carlyn Road, just east of St. Katharine’s Greek Orthodox Church, with access to the parking area on Magnolia Avenue.  The park construction, funded by the 2016 Park bond, features multiple play courts, including pickleball, a picnic shelter, playground, community garden plots, and an open activity area.  A formal dedication is planned for the spring. Hogge Park is the 60th park in Mason District.  Walking, hiking, team sports for all ages, golf, concerts, fishing, star-gazing – you can do it all at Fairfax County Park in 2023!