Philip has asked me to be the guest writer for the day. Let me introduce myself. My name is Lou Ann, and I live in Northern Indiana where I am a teacher, a storyteller, a community member.
It is a lovely Sunday afternoon on the island...the air is scented with cedar....the sky is azure blue....and the storm is over. It has been cold and windy for days...everyone has been talking about the weather. The island attire has been rubber boots, jeans and sweatshirts. Even though the storm raged and the tide came up in the village, there was still so much to do! The kids performed at the Community Center and local folks kicked up their heels for the square dance. We spent hours biking around in the wind watching pelicans and loons huddled up into the harbor...checking on friends and neighbors who might need cars or lawn mowers or bikes moved to higher ground. This was my first nor'easter, and I have to admit I did enjoy it!
I first came to Ocracoke Island to participate in a storytelling workshop hosted by Donald and Merle Davis who live on the island. The workshop was held during the Summer Solstice. That is how I met Philip....Merle sent me to him to inquire about an island celebration. I have always loved the Solstice..hosting many midnight gatherings on a lonely patch of Indiana countryside.
On my first visit here..I was caught up in the magic of the community...I am sure that is how many of you feel. Oh, I carried the usual things home...wet towels, creased paper back novels from reading on the beach...seashells, island crafts, a sunburn...but something else tugged at me as I rode my bike through the village especially late at night with the moon like silk on the water. This feeling of community began to surface as I listened to Molasses Creek play at the Deep Water Theatre and Martin Garrish at the Jolly Roger. These events weren't isolated..their lives were wrapped around each other like the ribbons on the May pole. I decided that the feeling of community was the most important gift I could take home to my own small hometown...something we all can do..Sunday night potlucks, porch lights on to welcome friends and neighbors..sharing of thoughts, tools. My own community is better off because I have been here.
I find myself visiting more...spending the summers working at the Village Craftsmen (be sure to stop by and say hello this summer!!) OK, let's me honest, yes I do come to see Philip, I think you already knew that!! But I also come to become part of the community...get to know folks...wash tables in the community center after events..clean up after hurricanes (let's hope that doesn't happen this summer!)..host a potluck.
So wherever you are...tonight turn on your porchlight..take a lovely glass of wine out on the stoop or porch or pizer..chat with neighbors...watch the sunset..community is wherever you are.