Kaleidoscope by Berni Steinbach
Q: “What do you do in the winter?”
A: “What do YOU do in the winter?”
So begins a frequent conversation between island residents and mainland residents as summer envy turns into a winter reality check.
With a furtive glance in the direction of sea and sky, visitors to the Bass Islands feel compelled to question the reasonableness of living apart from mainstream America. Certainly, the opportunity to travel anywhere at any time, the broad range of social entertainment choices, and the direct access to countless merchant operations casts a wide net with an abundant catch. Indeed, our island survival depends on the mainland lifeline. However, being removed from large-scale commerce and big-city hustle-bustle allows for a completely different type of spaciousness.
Living in a realm with an off-season shapes thoughts and life activities in strong contrast to an all-season environment. Things are put away, cottages and businesses close down, alternative income sources must be tapped. Add the aura of remoteness created by island geography, and suddenly “What do you do in the winter?” becomes a sound benchmark for community-wide self-assessment. This is a good thing!
In our annual hurry to prepare for the seasonal holidays we can benefit from a STOP. Some people rely upon the Christian Advent time to reflect upon where life meaning-making takes us; others count on gatherings with family and friends to confirm the values underpinning our positive mindset. In less dramatic fashion, responding to an off-islander’s query might be the stepping stone to renewal–a clarification of who we are, what we want to be.
So, in our island realm, we read, exercise, attend to children, watch movies, pursue hobbies, invite friends to dinner, go on walks, pray, listen to and make music, follow sports, send text messages, love our pets, interact on Facebook, study, take naps, complete chores, bake cookies, shop on-line, play cards, dream, imagine, plan, create, ice fish and play on the ice!
Our distinct island advantage lies in the opportunity to confront most clearly the choices we make toward self-fulfillment. If occasionally we feel the need to leave our oasis for the “the big road,” that is alright, too. Happy winter, neighbors!