On the Island

A Shoaler in the Making

We were overjoyed to host Kittery’s own Nelson Linscott as our 2018 Veterans Raffle winner last June. We are beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to share our special island with someone new, who has sacrificed so much for our country. From the moment Nelson set foot on Star, it was clear to us that we had made a special connection that would stand the test of time.

Nelson immediately felt the magic of Star. Since then, he has shared the wonders of his experience with us and many others. We are delighted to share the following piece, the first of a series written by Nelson Linscott, about his journey toward becoming a Shoaler. We hope you enjoy reading about Nelson. If you haven’t made a visit to Star Island yet, we think this series will inspire you to take the leap!

A Shoaler in the Making by Nelson Linscott

I grew up poor in North Kittery, Maine, a sleepy farming community bordering rural Eliot, which was once a part of Kittery. Rolling fields of deep grass, hay fields for horses and dairy cows, lined with stone walls from stones plucked from the fields by farmers generations ago was my playground. We didn’t venture far from our small home. Kittery Point, only a couple of miles away, but could have been hundreds of miles away as far as we were concerned. We thought of Kittery Point as another world of lobsters, coastal homes and the sea with views of the horizon and lighthouses on tiny islands. As a boy, I fantasized about the islands. I was an avid reader and stoked with visions from “Treasure Island” and “The Mysterious Islands” I wondered out loud about these specks of rock in the sea. “What are those islands out there?” I asked my mother on a rare visit to Seapoint Beach in Kittery Point. 

“The Isles of Shoals”, Mom replied and after several other obviously irritating, persistent questions, I learned that the islands had been home to fishermen, pirates and once there had been a murder there. Ah, my mind began racing. I envisioned pirates with swords and ruffled three corned hats, and treasure, buried treasure of course. I planned my raft. It didn’t look that far out to sea. After I found the buried treasure I would have plenty of money to sail back to the mainland in style. So began my dance with the Isles of Shoals, a group of small Islands I wouldn’t set foot on until I was sixty three years old. 

As the years went by, I became interested in Celia Thaxter. I loved poetry, writing, and of course reading. I found my way to the beaches more often on my own with friends and my interest in the islands never wavered. “The Wreck of the Pocahontas” was the first Celia Thaxter poem  I read and the words, “The sails that flecked the ocean floor, from East to West  leaned low and fled; They knew what came in the distant roar, That fill the air with dread!” I trembled  in excitement and horror. Celia had nailed it and I was hooked.

With visits to the local libraries, I learned the history of these tiny specks on the horizon. I was hooked but how does a poor North Kittery boy get to islands ten miles out to sea? I was barely getting enough to eat at home. A trip was out of the question. 

In the 1970’s I became an apprentice at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I was on my own after a stint in the U.S. Army that I wanted to forget. I was married, had a daughter and I had money. I was free to pursue whatever I desired within reason. I had a family to care for. I then heard of Viking Cruises’ trips to the Isles of Shoals. On a bright cool Spring morning we boarded the Viking Sun to cruise out to the islands. I was thrilled. Seeing the mainland from the vantage point of the sea was amazing to me. I had never been on a boat. We were loving the cruise and then I saw the islands. The cruise was only a roundabout cruise to view the islands from the boat. We weren’t stopping. I was amazed at the number and size of the buildings on the islands. Heading back to the mainland, I planned my return but life got in the way. My wife’s chronic Illness kept me from returning. The Isles of Shoals became a distant memory. Occasionally I would read about the islands. I looked from shore at them in the distance. That’s as close as I would get to setting foot on an island for decades. In December of 2017, I received a phone call.

“Hello, Mr. Linscott? This is Lisa from Star Island. How are you today? ” 

“Who?” I asked.

“Lisa from Star Island. You have won a trip all expenses paid at Star Island.”

“I can’t hear you. I am almost deaf.”  

“Alright Mr. Linscott. You won our Veteran’s Raffle. Could I have your email address?”

“Yeah, Yeah, email me. I don’t remember signing up for anything. Where is it?”

“S t a r  I s l a n d!  

“OK, downeast101@*mail.com

“”Thank you Mr. Linscott!”

“Yup, bye!”

Little did I know after this brief exchange, my life was about to change. 

On the Island

Winter Stewardship: Keeping Safe Our Spirit’s Home

A winter caretaker needs to have the temperament and endurance not only to manage the considerable environmental and personal challenges of living isolated for months in a remote place, but also needs to possess the particular technical chops that will ensure our dear island remains safely cared for.

Though the various demands on winter caretakers may be unusual and even surprising to those of us that know Star only in fine weather, Alex de Steiguer (and her mainland-based back-up, Brad Anderson) came to us with such a unique set of life and professional skills that we’ve never had a winter-day’s worry since their start in 1997.

Following the long, caring stewardship of Edith and Dave Pierson, and after a brief time cycling through a few interim caretakers, Star finally found this unique team to care for our island home during the long, punishing months of winter. In our absence, they act as steward on our behalf. Because one or the other of them is on-island all winter, a unique set of skills always resides on Star Island while our regular staff is ashore preparing for the following year.

After personal safety, a winter caretaker’s first charge is to thwart the damage that can expand very quickly when winter’s sharp claws pry at our roofs, windows and doors. Buildings of the vintage of Star’s are particularly susceptible to cumulative disaster unless water and wind can be kept out. Newly, the increasing sophistication of our infrastructure – that in part can be a great help to a winter caretaker – also requires additional off-season monitoring. They not only keep an eye on our buildings’ integrity, but also look to the other islands and assist authorities when there are problems on the Isles such as wrecks, lost vessels or mariners, or unusual weather events.

Many of us know of Alex’s long photographic study of the Isles of Shoals, and of her book and music – in large part, all stimulated by her time alone on Star Island and emblematic of our desire for Star to help all to explore matters of consequence and gain knowledge of the world as it might ideally be. We who so love Star may, more than most, rejoice with her in celebration of Star Island as a unique inspiration for creativity and communion. But, beyond the artistic, and even beyond the capabilities accrued during decades of deep-water sailing on ships and big schooners, our caretaker team also applies their skills in alternative energy, remote homesteading, shade-tree mechanics, technology, woodworking, fabrication, and all around self-reliance.

They want you to know: during winter, your spirit’s home is always safe, and they are confident – with the full capabilities of the Coast Guard, the Marine Patrol and Star’s other staff always in the wings – that they can safely manage Star’s entry into every new year, delivering to us in the spring the beautiful, inspiring place that we love so well.

You can see their daily report of conditions on the island at any time by visiting this link.

P.S. Did you know? Alex will be speaking at this year’s Star Arts Retreat!

Star Island Corporation

Veterans Raffle Winner

We are thrilled to announce this year’s Veterans Raffle winner, LaVonne Black, of New Albany, Pennsylvania. LaVonne spent eight years in the army as a German linguist and additional time after in the reserves.

LaVonne has never been to Star Island, but was encouraged by a friend to apply. She is excited to check out the conferences and to enjoy a relaxing experience on Star.

In a beautiful thank you letter to Star Island, LaVonne wrote, “I always loved traveling, but we have never spent time on the coast, so I would love to explore your island…my military service was a great opportunity for a small town farm girl. I had never imagined seeing so many parts of the world and meeting so many people from different parts of the country. I was proud to serve and represent my country. It’s a part of my life I will always be proud of…it left me feeling good about the world because of the great people I met. Since that is one of the things you said about your island, I was very impressed”. LaVonne shared this photo from 29 years ago, during her time in the army. She also shared the more recent photo below from this year’s Christmas card!

Here, LaVonne and her husband of 28 years, David, are pictured with their dog, Xena. LaVonne and David met during their military service when stationed in Berlin. She works as a technician with a major corporation and David is a nurse at the Veterans Administration.

LaVonne is looking forward to spending a week on Star Island with her daughter, who is graduating from college soon. We are deeply grateful for her service, and the service of all of our military veterans. We can’t wait to meet LaVonne, and for her to enjoy all the island has to offer!

Fundraising

Prints for Purchase 2018

If you missed Starry Night but would still like a keepsake, check out the prints we have for sale! These could make a great addition to your art collection or a thoughtful gift for your starry someone.

The following prints are available for purchase by clicking here.

All proceeds support Star Island

Starry Star 14×26 Signed by Impressionist Artist Ron Quinn – $50

Starry Bird’s Eye View 12×18– Photo by Brett Marshall – $40

Limited Edition Gosport Regatta Poster 8×12 (sold without date) by Pelican Katie Burke – $25

 

Conference Updates

IRAS at Parliament of the World’s Religions

Members of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, which holds an annual conference on Star Island, will be present at this year’s Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto.

IRAS cultivates a community of informed and respectful inquiry and dialogue
at
 
the intersections of science with religion, spirituality and philosophy
 in service of global, societal and personal well-being.

The Science & Religion track has been created jointly by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) and the International Society on Science and Religion (ISSR), specifically addressing the major themes of the 2019 Parliament. The presenters include some experienced academics (including one Nobel Laureate) and representatives of several major religions in the world, all of whom take seriously the latest knowledge developed by sound science. Issues addressed include human origins, cosmology, the nature of evil, genetic manipulation, climate change, food distribution, the brain and human emotion, the search for life in the galaxy, human health and well being. Each session will present latest research with slide illustrations, and each presenter will allow time for questions and discussion. For more information, visit our booth # 425 in the Parliament’s Exhibit Fair.

The Parliament is scheduled to run November 1 through 7, 2018.

All sessions will be held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

This is the Roster of Science & Religion Sessions sponsored by IRAS & ISSR

Friday, November 2, 2018

Nancy Ellen Abrams

The Unifying Potential of a Real God in the Scientific Universe

12:15pm, Room 706

Grace Wolf-Chase

Understanding Scientific Discovery through Participation

3:15pm, Room 703

Saturday, November 3, 2018:

Paul H. Carr

Climate, Carbon & Ground of All Being

12:15pm, Room 712

Solomon Katz

Food Scarcity, Safety, Imbalance and Population Changes

1:15pm, Room 712

William D. Phillips

Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science

6:00pm, Room 603

Sunday, November 4, 2018

V. V. Raman

Science & Religion: A Unified Vision

12:15pm, Room 712

Carol Wayne White

Reinvisioning Hope: Anthropogenic Climate Change, Learned Ignorance, and Religious Naturalism

1:15pm, Room 712

Janet Rossant and James Peterson

Gene Editing Our Children and Their Children: Genes, Justice and Future Generations

2:15pm, Room 712

Sol Katz

Implementing a Scientific, Socially Inclusive, Sustainable, Interfaith Food Program in Ethnically Diverse Urban Communities

2:15pm, Room 713B

Anindita Balslev

Pluralism and Peace Making: Contemporary Hindu Perspectives

2:15 pm, Room 107

Andrew Newberg and  Rabbi David Halprin

Neurotheology and Compassion

6:00pm, Room 713A

Tuesday, November 6, 2019

Fraser Watts and  Moez Masoud

Science, Religion & Global Justice

12:15pm, Room 717A

William Shoemaker

The Origin of Evil and the Brain Network

2:15pm, Room 712

Michael Summers

The New Search for Life Beyond our Solar System

3:15pm, Room 712

 

The Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions
Toronto, ON • November 1 – 7, 2018

The vision of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is of a just, peaceful and sustainable world in which:

  • Religious and spiritual communities live in harmony and contribute to a better world from their riches of wisdom and compassion.
  • Religious and cultural fears and hatreds are replaced with understanding and respect.
  • People everywhere come to know and care for their neighbors.
  • The richness of human and religious diversity is woven into the fabric of communal, civil, societal and global life.
  • The world’s most powerful and influential institutions move beyond narrow self-interest to realize common good.
  • The Earth and all life are cherished, protected, healed and restored.
  • All people commit to living out their highest values and aspirations