Neighborly Wisdom For Stressful Times

Neighborly Wisdom For Stressful Times

 

Contributed by Sally Balmer

“Lead a listening life. Order your outward life so that nothing drowns out the listening.”  —Thomas Kelly

 

There’s a shift these days of ‘stay-at-home.’ “That’s right, this is a long haul” feeling arises. My guess is most of us haven’t a clue what to make of it: how it will feel, what it will look like in some weeks. Likely impatience. Sorrow. Tenderness. Prayers and goodwill.

 

The heightening wave of urgency from the news can be hard on the soul. So can all the words— whether read online or from meaningful loved ones— offering an overflow of ‘how to.’ I’ve sensed this often, with some of it resulting in that odd tiredness that can come in a new culture. So much of this is new.

 

Decades ago, Quaker Thomas Kelly articulated something slowing, and simple. The ‘listening life.’ For me, it’s (finally) meant no checking online news until…later. Allowing time itself to breathe. To hear, then, with an ease: of calls to make, or an email, or a walk among trees, or something new like sending a postcard to ‘a special someone’ in a care center. The listening is a part of doing, being…a kindly Holy Pause.

 

Contributed by Jon Prescott

Hello daily newscast. I welcome you into my home because I want to know what’s happening. But all these pandemic predictions just make me want to rush to Costco and buy 200 rolls of toilet paper!
Instead, I’ll turn off the TV and breathe.
All around the world, people are ill and afraid, unable to breathe freely. Someday, I too may have this experience.
But now, in this wonderful moment, right here on this couch, I breathe in peace.

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Across the vineyards of Bordeaux, the plazas of Rome, and the meditation halls of Zen monasteries, bells ring out and recall us to ourselves. These bells of mindfulness remind us to stop whatever we’re doing in order to pay attention to what is beautiful, nourishing, and healing.
Could COVID-19 also be a bell of mindfulness? Can this pandemic remind us to stop and touch the preciousness of our fleeting lives? Our island community, our fresh air, the budding spring flowers and returning Robins are easy to overlook without bells of mindfulness.

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COVID-19, I hear you. Thank you for reminding me to stop. Thank you for reminding me to notice this precious life.

 

Contributed by David Wertheimer

As I have adopted the need for "social distancing" during the current times, I have increased the amount of walking I am doing on the island as my primary exercise. Whether on the roads, or in the woods, or on the beach, I have come to appreciate that, if we must be more physically isolated from the larger world, Guemes is a pretty magical place to have to do this. In addition, I have consistently enjoyed interacting (at a safe distance!) with the other Island folk I have encountered on my walks, and the sweet, gentle nature of our ways with each other that reinforce the specialness of our life on the island. May we appreciate one another even more in the present crisis, and share our appreciation for each other and this unique island, even as we are called to remember and assist those in other places that may face greater challenges than we face here in our own spectacular isolation from the world.

 

Contributed by Sarah (Sibley) Banning

At some point, we all shared the dream of living on this island (save for those who were lucky to be born here). We craved the open space, the connection to water, the surroundings of nature. We yearned to leave the busy, crowded city. Now, here we are. We’ve manifested and created the life we wanted. We got what we asked for! We are living the dream.

 

Perhaps now we are being given the opportunity to dig even deeper into our island lives. Simplify. Forage. Explore. Slow down. That’s what island living is all about. We (most of us) can’t go to work. So, that leaves us time to just be, here, on our island. We can appreciate this life we wanted. We can appreciate all that surrounds us. We can breathe in (cautiously allergy sufferers) all the green, lusciousness of the forests and the saltiness of the sea air, and breathe out the stress of life on the other side of the channel. We’ve got all we need right here. Our loved ones, our community, our animals. We can cultivate whatever situation we want in our lives. Right now.

 

Contributed by Deb Strathman

Recently, while walking the Tommy Thompson Trail, I discovered a plaque that had been placed along the shore on Samish lands as a memorial to the 7 who lost their lives in the Tesoro Refinery accident of 2010. The title on the plaque was, “Communities Heal Together.”

 

The plaque revealed that the Samish people believe the cedar tree to be a source of healing as well as a symbol of community. The story on the plaque told how cedar trees rarely survive alone in Nature; each individual relies on its neighbors for strength and survival. Seven cedars were planted near the plaque to honor the 7 lives lost and to provide a special place for reflection and community healing.

 

This touching memorial gave me pause as I realized how relevant its message is to the challenges we face today. It prompted me to reflect on the wisdom of the Samish people as well as the lessons we can learn from Nature about how to be there for each other. It reminded me, also, that Nature is there for us - to share her beauty, to lift our spirits, and to help us thrive. Ultimately, I believe I was guided to this special place of reflection to be reminded of how fortunate I am to be part of a “community of cedars” on Guemes, where neighbors support each other and help each other stay strong and continue to thrive, especially in challenging times.

 

Contributed by Barb Ohms from the Holstee Reflections

Support each other. In difficult times, it’s easy to think we are alone, especially with the currently prescribed “social distancing.” Reach out to those you care about — but instead of just trading fears and anxieties, try bringing a positive element to the conversation. Let your loved ones know you are thinking about them and tell them something you appreciate about them. Spreading the love is a great way to feel the love. Support others and you will feel supported.

Adventure to Vendovi – Sept 7

Adventure to Vendovi — Sept 7

 

Vendovi has rich history, beautiful scenery and great walking trails which allow for island exploration. On the ride out, you'll hear a brief account of Vendovi history and what you might experience on your visit. On the return trip to Guemes you'll hear some of the history of Eliza Island, Vendovi's neighbor to the north.

 

Save the date: September 7th, leaving from Young Park on the north tip of Guemes beginning at 11 am. Your boat, the Voyager, is a 34’ landing craft and carries 6 passengers at a time. The Voyager is scheduled to depart Young Park each half hour until 2:30 pm. Departures from Vendovi back to Guemes will be every half hour as each new group arrives. Plan on spending 1/2 to 2 hours exploring the island. The last trip back to Guemes will leave Vendovi at 3:45 pm.

 

Cost: A donation of $90 per person includes the boat ride to and from Vendovi and a catered picnic lunch from Gere-a-Deli of Anacortes: sandwich, salad, chips, drink and a treat.

 

Payment: Cash or check (payable to Guemes Island Historical Society) at the event—before sailing.

 

Reserve your ticket(s) for this wonderful outing. Click here to sign up online:

• Click on the link above
• Go to September 7 on the calendar
• Click on the sailing time you desire
• Click on “New Reservation”
• Add your name and phone number (we need to get in touch to confirm your reservation)
• Click "Create Reservation"

You may also reserve your spot by emailing the Guemes Island Historical Society at: guemeshistory@gmail.com or phoning Tom Deach at 360-708-2582 — be sure to leave a message if unanswered! If you cannot make the event, please remove yourself from the online schedule so your spot will be available for someone else.

 

Gather your friends and prepare for a leisurely get-a-way trip to truly unique Vendovi Island. Hope to see you on September 7th. We have a limited number of spaces, so act early!

The Benefits of Volunteering

The Benefits of Volunteering

An article by HelpGuide.org notes that volunteering is a way to support people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community — but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. (See “Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits.")

 

Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Working collaboratively with others in the community towards a common goal can help you reduce stress, strengthen friendships, meet new people, and learn new skills. Making progress on a volunteer-based community project is a great motivator for the entire community. Completion of such a project provides a sense of personal accomplishment, builds community, and strengthens pride-in-place.

 

The GICCA Stage Project at Schoolhouse Park began as a dream of islanders who successfully raised money to save Guemes Mountain from development. Much progress has been made at the GICCA Stage site and many in the community have been involved at various times. Everyone who has donated their time, money, or materials has the sincere appreciation and gratitude of the entire community.

 

The Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) announced some Stage Project enhancements (see related article) that will better position the project for successful and timely completion. We hope that those of you who have volunteered with us over the years (and all of you would-be volunteers as well) will rally around the progress to date, the latest project enhancements, and the ongoing community support to (re)engage with us on the Stage Project. We all need to come together to help drive this project to completion. We look forward to having this lasting resource available as a venue for the many fun and enriching times that islanders can enjoy together as a community.

 

When it comes to volunteering, the most valuable assets you can bring to any volunteer effort are an open mind, compassion, and a willingness to pitch in wherever needed — with a positive attitude. Please join us.

 

GICCA thanks you! We look forward to engaging with you to make our community even better — however you might choose to get involved.

GICCA Welcomes New 2020 Board Members

GICCA Welcomes New 2020 Board Members

At the GICCA annual meeting on Thursday, November 21, 2019, the community elected 2 new Board members, Kathy Whitman (pictured here) and Mary Hale (not pictured),  to join returning Board members Rob Schroder, Loalynda Bird, Carol Deach, Libby Boucher, and Barb Ohms as your 2020 GICCA Board.

 

Kathy Whitman first came to Guemes in 1973 when she and her sister purchased a tiny cabin in Holiday Hideaway. Her two kids and husband loved the shared cabin, enjoying many hours on the beach. After Kathy’s husband died, she had to develop a new plan for her life and in 2018 made the choice to make Guemes Island her full-time home. She enjoys outside activities including volunteering as a steward for the San Juan Preservation Trust at the Peach Preserve. Kathy shares her love and talent for art by hosting Guemes Casual Art groups at her home. Both of her sisters now have their own homes or cabins on the island.

 

Kathy earned two degrees from UW in Art and in Recreation plus continued education in financial management, art skills, diversity, risk management and organization. Her background in grant award review, grant writing, fund raising and creative marketing will be valuable assets to the GICCA Board and our future work for the Guemes community.

 

Mary Hale and her husband Jeff are life-long Washingtonians who moved to Guemes Island in 2017 after raising their two children and retiring. Drawn to Guemes’ beauty and sense of community, they readily embraced island life as full-time residents. Besides giving back to the community, Mary hopes to share her experience from having worked 28 years at the University of Washington. Her work there involved, among other things, administering multiple budgets, coordinating numerous events, and authoring a  web site. Mary says she especially enjoyed the challenge of crunching numbers, staying organized, and paying close attention to details.

 

Mary views the Community Center as a positive gathering place for recreational, educational, and social activities—all of which foster a sense of belonging here—and, to that end, she sees the GICCA Board member’s role as striving to be a good steward of this valuable asset.

 

When Mary isn’t on a walkabout in nature, she enjoys volunteering at the Library, attending Historical Society events, supporting the Skagit Land Trust, and being involved in fun activities such as the Dog Island Dog Show, Luminary Parade, and Fourth of July Parade.

 

We welcome Kathy and Mary as the newest members of the 2020 GICCA Board.

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Spring Trivia Night, March 21

Spring Trivia Night

Come and enjoy a night of trivia challenges on March 21 at the Guemes Island Community Center Hall

 

Renowned trivia host Wren Schultz is back again this year!

  • Cash bar opens at 6 p.m.; Trivia at 6:30
  • Great snacks and prizes
  • $10 per player; optional game packs $3
  • Tables of 4; come as a team or join one (sorry, 21 and older only)

 

Register by March 11 to be entered into a bonus prize drawing.

Seats are limited - we expect another sell-out crowd! Reserve your seat(s) now by emailing the following information to myguemes@gmail.com:

  • Name, phone, and email of the person reserving seat(s)
  • Number of seats/tables you wish to reserve

Registered participants will check-in and pay at the door. Additional seats, if available, will also be sold at the door.

Upcoming Luminary Classes

Upcoming Luminary Classes

In 2017 Guemes Islanders, friends and family came together to learn the craft of creating lighted paper and reed luminary lanterns. The varied creations lit the south shore of Guemes Island for the 1st Earth Day Luminary Parade. The 2nd Annual Luminary Parade will be on Saturday, April 21, 2018, preceded by this year's series of classes making new lantern designs and introducing newcomers to the craft.

 

The day will also include a community supper with a fundraiser supporting the Guemes Ferry Trail Project.

 

Classes are as follows:

  • Teen and adult newcomers to Luminary classes can attend the 5-session Class 1 on March 23, 24, April 4, 6 & 7 for $45.
  • Returning teen and adult luminary crafters may attend the Advanced Class 2 series of 8 sessions on March 14, 16, 17, 21, 23, April 4, 6 & 7 for $60.
  • Children, accompanied by a parent, may attend a two-session Children's Class on March 17 & April 7 for $5. They will create a small globe luminary.

 

Luminary artist and Guemes resident, Loalynda Bird, donates her time to bring this craft to our community. The class fees cover all materials costs, refreshments during class and use of the Community Hall.

 

Classes will be held at the Guemes Island Community Center Hall on Guemes Island Road, 1/2 mile north of the Guemes ferry dock. Wednesday & Friday classes - 6 to 9 PM. Saturday classes - 11 AM to 1 PM. Please note that the last ferry back to Anacortes on Wednesdays is at 8:30. Saturday last ferry is at 11 PM.

 

To register please email Loalynda@loalyndadesigns.com or text to 818-497-0239. Check the Events Calendar for information on this and other happenings on beautiful Guemes Island.

 

This craft will open your imagination and bring light into your life. Please join us.