To the 2011 Star Island Pelican Community:
I have to share with you how strange it was to shut down the last generator and walk down to the boat on that cold November afternoon when the season was finally over. Alex took over on November 4. She reports daily owl sightings, Canada geese returning to the front lawn, a couple of generator problems, and a rat population that really does seem to be a little lower than last year.
You can all relate to how odd it felt for me to be back home after such a long spell on the Island. The first few weeks back in America were consumed by our close call with reality television, which has now been put off until maybe next year. We brought six enthusiastic Hollywood producers out there right after Thanksgiving, but the network decided it was too late in the season to put it all together. The income would have been important in these tight budget times, but I have to admit to being somewhat relieved.
I went to a great alternative energy conference at the Island Institute in November where I met island managers from all up and down the Maine Coast. I think we’re starting to get some momentum back into our solar power plan, too.
I’ve already gotten some skiing in, hauled the boat into the shed for the winter, organized all the files that were piling up around my desk, started planning for next season, and stacked most of my firewood. And now it’s almost Christmas.
So, on the day after the Solstice and my last work day of the year, I have a chance to reflect on the whirlwind that started last April, and I want to share some of my thoughts with you who made it so interesting and rewarding.
This was an incredible, enriching year for me, full of growth and challenge, and I want to thank all of you who were a part of making my first season at Star so enjoyable and valuable. You guys rallied around to help me right from the start and I am very grateful. I could start naming names, but I would inevitably leave somebody out, so let me just say thank you to everybody at once. I truly appreciate the help and cooperation and respect you gave me. What makes Star so incredible is the combination of that beautiful isolated, sometimes scary setting, with a group of such amazing people. I feel really fortunate to be part of it. So the word of the day is gratitude. Thank you.
My hopes for next season? More progress on sustainability, more music, more sailing, more laughing, more great work, more conversation, more moderation. I really hope we can all work together to avoid the lapses in judgment and the indiscretions which lead to injuries, terminations, sadness. I hope no one has to leave the Island because they get hurt or depressed or because they broke a basic rule. I hope we can continue to build a stronger and stronger atmosphere of open communication, respect for each other and the place, cooperation, compassion. I believe that a whole community working together presents the best chance to keep everyone safe and happy and sober and growing. What better community than this to prove it?
We will all be challenged once again by a scarcity of resources. I really believe that this challenge is also an opportunity for the Island and us, one which is right in line with important principles that we all share, and part of the long tradition of the Shoals themselves. Sustainability (for the Island and for the world) implies creativity, innovation, resourcefulness, a community working together with common goals, some hard work, and yes, even some sacrifices. The test is worth the taking, and the rewards can be deep and long lasting. I think it is part of the reason we are drawn here.
OK, down off the soap box. I basically just wish everyone the best new year ever.