Soon, the art installation will be in place in the Barclay Roundabout, completing the westwork of the grand cathedral that is Central Oregon. And the pilgrims will come in their thousands, as they always do. A great proportion of this host will long to make this place their home - just as almost all of us did at some point along our life's trail. Some will find a way.

Sisters will grow. Sisters will change.

It's always tempting to try to throw up a bulwark to resist change, especially when we feel that what we love is at stake. But change is water - it seeps around, under and through any barrier. It finds a way.

So... Sisters will grow. Sisters will change.

Laird Superfood has announced a major expansion. Hayden Homes plans to build nearly 200 new dwellings at McKenzie Meadows. New commercial developments are in the wind.

Growth and change mean prosperity. New jobs, more school enrollment, a more diverse and therefore more robust economy. It also has negative impact: More traffic and congestion - and the potential to lose the small-town charm that attracted so many in the first place.

When my wife and I moved to Sisters in 1993, there were fewer than 800 people living inside the city limits. For years, it was actually possible to know just about everybody in town, at least to say howdy. When a population grows to several thousand, that's just not possible anymore.

It's harder to hit the woods and find solitude away from the crowd. Conflicts of values and uses - from activities in the forest to live music downtown - get more frequent and more acute.

So, then, is it possible to reap the rewards of growth without losing our character, our soul? We're about to find out. 2019 is likely to be a watershed year for Sisters as it tries to navigate into a new era in its history.

There's reason to be optimistic. Sisters is still a community that leaps up to fill the shelves of the food bank or an auditorium for a community display of talent. It's still a place where people hold the door for each other at the post office. Even as we move into the new year, there's a whole lot of people who are working hard to figure out how Sisters can venture into the future and still stay Sisters.

Just knowing that this is going to take some mindful effort is an important step. And maybe it just comes down to being neighborly.

So, neighbors - here's wishing you all a happy new year.

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief