Piece of Mind: I haven't been absent, just quiet

It's been all too easy the past few weeks to stay mute in this corner. We've been tightening things up and moving a few things about on our pages, giving me the perfect excuse to give up the space to make room for more news and calendar items.

Perhaps it was the generally balmy weather we've had since the beginning of the year that sent me into an early and prolonged spring fever. At first, it was a flightiness that didn't allow me to focus on any one topic. I considered wading into the matter of two-too-many 7-Eleven stores being allowed in town, then cast that aside when Anita Brenner beat me to the punch in her column. Should I riff on the wildlife sightings (one bear and numerous coyotes) reported to me by friends? No, there wasn't anything new to say other than, um, please encourage your neighbors not to leave food outdoors that might entice them.

My general state of itchiness turned to melancholy when I came back to my desk after lunch on Feb. 10 to hear a voice-mail message notifying me that a Crescenta Valley High School student had just committed suicide on campus. Almost three weeks later I am still wrestling with the sadness that swept over me that afternoon as I imagined the depths of his anguish and the horror his classmates must have felt. I had intentions of writing about Drew Ferraro's death for our Feb. 17 issue, but started in and could not complete the piece. What could I possibly offer to the conversations that were swirling? Nothing meaningful. So I asked our page designer to fill my column inches with something else. Ditto, last week. The sudden loss of a teenager I'd never met, for reasons we'll never know with any certainty, still weighs on me.

One might wonder the point of today's brief missive. Well, primarily it's to let you know I'm still around, observing life in La Cañada and its environs, if more quietly than usual. There might be weeks when I'll pass on writing a column due to space, time or, yes, mood constraints. But please keep in mind that my inbox awaits your ideas and suggestions. Should you have the goods on some fascinating locals doing interesting things, please send them our direction.

I am making a little headway out of my funk: My plan for next week is to highlight the endeavors of some former students of a longtime La Cañada High art teacher, the now-retired Karen Mealiffe, who clued us in about their activities. Unless, of course, something else catches my fickle eyes.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the Valley Sun. Email her at ccormaci@valleysun.net or carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

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