Up the shore the word community can mean anything from a historic mini hamlet to midsize industry town or tourism center. This past weekend saw Fisherman’s Picnic fill one town the way cooked rice overflows a pot. It can be annoying when parking becomes a problem or lines in a grocery exceed one’s patience, but this is fortunately not the rule. Event traffic and population are like a pig in an anaconda where a fat period is followed by plenty of lean. Unless a person finds themselves suddenly here by chance any resident should realize life in a popular tourism area has busy and slack seasons. Some, however, like to adopt a disdainful insider view of tourists and think of them as vagrants who bring happiness on departure. The tendency to do this is an understandable part of human nature always keen to seize advantage and standing. This (in my view) is pride misplacing gratitude for guests coming and supporting a local community. There’d be cause for local complaint if visitors required us to go to their territories to spend a weekend eating and renting rooms, but when you’re one small part of a larger process it can be difficult to see an overall design or pattern.
Attitudes about community can be inclusive or they can be divisive by drawing insider-outsider lines. Part of the issue from a local perspective is seasonality of income or earning opportunity. To an objector it is either a fault of tourism or in Human Nature that visitors find one season preferable over another to do their visiting. But alas, whether enjoying the sun in Asia during monsoon season or along the North Shore taking kids agate picking in February season does matter. In fact, season often dictates as it does with canoe outfitting where the first skin of ice drops a Closed For The Season sign over canoe paddling. If your opine says life tied to seasons is mainly an issue for farmers, school teachers, and trek outfitters look at major retailers who judge an entire year by the result of one season. Can you guess which? I’ll hint that it is not July 4th.
You’d think that after thousands of years at it human culture would have figured out a few basic things. Well maybe the culture knows but a lot of individuals get quite vexed that their economy is not magically “sustainable” or self-sustaining. What fantasy universe were they in previously? The one I grew up in had seasons each of which brought a change of opportunity and required adjustment. Fish spawned in the spring. If you were to take advantage of that you couldn’t wait for nicer weather in July to do so. Where seasons exist a great deal of human activity works both around and with them. Winter clothing has a season reliable as that of a sharp increase in turkey consumption or enjoying fresh picked homegrown sweet corn. Even areas of activity that are comparatively stable and not dependent on seasonal openings still feel the pull of tides that move people into action in rhythm with the outside.
With a subject such as “community” so wide and difficult it is no wonder that so few have a firm definition or that many of those who do define human community along peculiar lines that on inspection show all the diversity and creative space of teeth in a comb. Uniformity is not community. An orderly exterior appearance can be a pall on individual ingenuity same as what some would see as chaos can be grasped by the inventive as opportunity. In terms of how we humans work a roiling not-too-bloody cat fight is possibly the description of community most befitting us. Quite often (and it seems to me guaranteed if a person says they went to school to study community) what people call community is a hypothetical construct just pleasing enough to keep a non-critical student from challenging content made mostly of some stuff plus nonsense. I take (I think for good cause) a dim view of cute, constructed definitions of anything and especially so if the subject is human behavior in social interaction. A design based on love and peace, after all, is more likely than not a blanket trying to hide naked hostility and competition going on with snarls like ferret mating.
But since wrongly defining community is widely practiced and accepted the door is open to me to wander in with my own attempt. I call community mainly a matter of fact. By fact I mean all included in a group are members in fact. That all do not agree or work in complete accord is also fact and a necessary part unless you’re after a community of stagnation or tyranny governed by authority. An actual community is quite like ferrets under a blanket and that’s a fact. If humanity opened a trendy shop it might be called Chaos Is Us.
The non-fact form of community is very (I’ll say) commonly based on faction instead of fact. A community of faction seeks order and unity. Imagine people playing God (pretending otherwise is usual) with the lives of others and you’ll have enough grasp to know faction based community is a beast of power. If you’re allowed to sing “I did it my way” that had best mean you did it as you were told or you’ll forego the pleasures the communal embrace. In its worst form faction community is lethal as recent acts in Iraq where a winning faction trucked a thousand plus young, unarmed, non-uniformed young men into a field to be executed for being born into the wrong (in that case Shiite) faction. Yes, that did happen and shows, I think, that democracy is not stronger than an armed faction. There was a silvery lining for the non-Shiite Muslim victors because the wives of the dead young men became widows; fair game to be taken up without risk of  adultery. Faction is far more dangerous than fact.