Last Call: A Star Steward Bids Farewell

by Angela Matthews, Director of Development

There it was – my last season on Star Island – the start of Natural History Week and the echoes and harmonies of the Arts conference morning singers are only just fading. Arise – arise – open your eyes! Arise and greet the day. It is of course how each of us should live every day. And a whiff of salt air certainly helps the disposition. In fact a turn-of-the- 19th-century cure involving sitting in salt caves seems entirely sensible sitting in the middle of the ocean. My health and wellness is amply buoyed by the scents of salt arising from the sea around me.

Jim Cerny photo

Jim Cerny photo

Through the ups and downs of the past six years – and certainly more ups than downs – I am deeply grateful for this time we have had together. Look at all we’ve done. None of it would have been possible without you. Those of us who work here come and go. But you – the island residents – are here forever. If you ever doubt that go stand in the corridor between Elliott and Lawrance. These ancestors are as present as you are. Their essence lives on Star just as yours will. You are each a link in that unbroken chain of the Star lineage – of Star Stewards.

As December approached rapidly and clearly on the horizon I am fully aware of the adjustments I will have to make to a very different life. And it is a real and constant challenge of managing demanding pairs of polar emotions that always come with beginnings and endings. The experienced soul knows that it’s an internal journey not an external one. I have to remind myself of that every day as I live the joys and sadness of the leaving – of ending.

I feel my own place as a link in the unbroken chain of Star Stewards and I am comforted in knowing I played a small part at a critical moment in time. We each do and it is at once humbling as it is invigorating. Star was. Star is. Star shall be. Like an eternal flame we fuel and sustain it generation after generation because we have to.

I’ve heard the stories of those who come and go and I am struck by one thing. No one has ever come to the work on Star thinking, I wonder how I can screw this up. Everyone comes with their best game – with their greatest love – with their purest dreams. Whether or not it ends well is not the point. Everyone wants to do their best. For me this is the most amazing lesson of Star. We are a very strong and vibrant family and we have great expectations. Every one of us has great expectations. And though we are not perfect, our intentions are. Adding a little forgiveness to the equation will relieve us of unnecessarily reliving times of conflict.

Last year, when I announced my plan to retire at the end of 2014 I couldn’t help but think that December was a long way off. Now, here it is. Welcome the new director of development with new traditions and freshness of spirit and love for Star and the knowing that anything is possible when we join our spirits and our energies. Star’s sustainability rests upon the enduring commitment – the stewardship – of every single shoaler. Please take a place on that team. Fare thee well in every sense of what that expression means. And great gratitude for all that you have meant to me.