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I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. 

In this pandemic year, so many of the little pleasures that spark joy for me — a night out at the theater or a restaurant, family vacations, a glass of wine with friends, singing with the church choir, catching a movie, even just chatting with coworkers in the coffee room — were ripped away suddenly in the spring. Even as the leaves turn, many of these activities have been slow to return. In selfish moments, I resent what’s been lost and transformed. 

At the same time, I’m acutely aware of how small these losses are compared to what others have been through. I’m thankful for good health. For a home and the space to breathe on the beautiful North Fork. And for the chance through my work to meet my neighbors and tell their stories. 

This month, I was especially privileged to talk to five local health care workers who put their lives on the line to protect the area from the coronavirus threat. We’re honored to feature them on page 78, and to express our thanks for all they have done and are still doing daily to keep us safe. In turn, every one of these front-line workers expressed immense gratitude to the North Fork for its support. “Honestly, I couldn’t ask to be in a better community,” one nurse told me — a sentiment I suspect many of us share. 

These health care heroes would want us to listen to science, so here’s some for you. Nearly two decades of studies tell us that counting your blessings increases happiness, replacing the loop of negative thoughts in your head with positive ones. It also strengthens your social bonds: Thanking someone reminds us of what’s good about our relationships and binds us to that person moving forward. In a year of stress and isolation, gratitude can offset both. 

This “Thank You” themed issue is full of ways to help you count your blessings and support your community, including an all-local farm-to-table holiday feast with recipes by Lauren Lombardi of Lombardi’s Love Lane Market in Mattituck and tableware from White Flower Farmhouse in Southold. I’m thankful to our entire editorial and publishing team that helped make this special issue happen. 

Happy Thanksgiving. We’re so grateful to you for reading. 

Sara Austin

Editorial Director