The Lesson

A once thriving community here has dwindled to just a handful of particularly resilient folks who live year-round on this island without the benefit of any traditional community infrastructure. The island is almost unique along the coast in that regard; the primary couple on the island caretake, farm and tend a quiet but steady flow of visitors… a very special place.

One day I chanced upon the abandoned one-room schoolhouse and entered. It was one of those breathtaking moments when suddenly and unexpectedly I was fully in the presence of many generations.

The old schoolhouse felt as if the kids and teacher had been there only hours before. Yes, there was dust, but aside from that it felt as though they had all just temporarily left.

The old maps, the desks, the pump organ, books, flags, portraits; it was all so....there. And it all spoke to the end of community.

In the context of all that small, remote communities have to teach us, here’s a lesson that begs us to pay attention. It’s about the fragility of the many things we construct for ourselves. It’s about the fleeting nature of life….of here today, gone tomorrow.

The Lesson
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Meredith Ralston