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February 2021

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February has long been one of the months I favor most. Deep winter, it’s the time when Mother Nature is at her most still and quiet— unapologetically abstaining from all her usual displays of gracious hospitality. I visualize her message to be rather like knocking on someone’s door and receiving the blunt no-nonsense reply: “Do not disturb. I’m taking time off.”

I delight in this nature imposed time-out as it reminds me to tune into my own needs for rest and rejuvenation and opt for more hibernating activities— curling up with tea and a blanket and an enticing book or journal; building a fire; going for a moonlit stroll.

And then of course, there’s Valentine’s Day— a holiday I’ve always enjoyed. Pink and red are two of my most favorite colors, and the profusion of their brightness and vitality against the backdrop of winter’s grays couldn’t come at a more fitting time. But aside from the cheery visuals, (and the hedonistic headiness resulting from the profusion of extra cookies, chocolate and flowers) Valentine’s Day has a special place in my heart precisely because it’s the one day that we celebrate matters of the heart.

We all have our own personal definitions and experiences of love. But at the core of love’s variegation resides the common theme of relating and the happiness that arises from that connection. Whatever it is we feel affinity for— be it a person, an animal, or a place— when we relate, we connect and feel a sense of happiness because we have the experience of not being alone. Here at the Insider, we always knew that building, supporting, and connecting with our community was important— we’re happiness junkies! And it shows in every page of our publication.

This month, we share a few of our area’s most Valentine’s date-worthy restaurants. And Celebrating Our Veterans is a perfect story for the month of love— as it illustrates how passion, commitment and heart really can make a difference in the world we inhabit. This month and Valentine’s Day, we celebrate our community and the love and happiness that it brings. Here’s to the love that we all embody, and all the love that we are capable of.

Melissa LaScaleia

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