One day back in the 80’s, I was poking around a particularly beautiful island up the bay.
A once thriving community there has dwindled to just a handful of particularly resilient and independent folks who live year-round on the island without the benefit of any traditional community infrastructure. The island is almost unique along the coast in that regard.
The primary couple on the island caretake, farm and tend a quiet but steady flow of visitors…the island is known to be a very special place.
I chanced upon the abandoned one-room schoolhouse and went inside. It was one of those electrifying moments when I felt I was fully in the presence of many generations.
The old schoolhouse felt as if the kids and teacher had been there only hours before. Yes, there was dust, but aside from that it felt as though they has all just left, maybe for lunch.
The old maps, the desks, the pump organ, books, flags, portraits; it was all so....there.
And it all spoke to the end of community.
And in the context of all that which small, remote communities have to teach us, here’s a lesson that begs us to pay attention. It’s about the fragility of the things we construct for ourselves. It’s about the fleeting nature of life, of here today, gone tomorrow.
A special island friend, now a Congresswoman in Washington, once said, “islands are the perfect models of community.”
They have so much to teach us – in so many ways - if we take the time to listen.