Make common cause with place

by Barbara Schaetti

IMG_2343This is in part a story of procrastination! I borrowed a bowl last December, early in the borrowing season, and yet here it is September 3rd, with the auction almost upon us, and I am only now posting photos and the story of our bowl’s visit.

This is also, more importantly, a story of place and home and gathering. I moved to Whidbey full time almost two years ago. As Wendell Berry put it, I am here to \”make common cause with place\”. Growing up around the world (10 countries on 5 continents by the time I was 18), and with a career that oriented me globally, I have now chosen to experience what it is to put down roots – to put down roots with the anticipation that there is time to put them down deeply into this particular geography and this particular community.

IMG_2342Last December, then, family gathered on Whidbey to celebrate the holidays. We prepared raclette, a traditional Swiss meal of potatoes, melted cheese, and pickles (we supplement the tradition by also broiling vegetables). We used our borrowed Good Cheer bowl to hold the potatoes, passed from one end of the table to the other, from person to person, lots of love and laughter also being passed.

The beautiful thing about having procrastinated in this posting is that I now have a way to benchmark my Whidbey rootedness. Then, I had barely broken ground on my cottage; now I am moved in and feeling settled. Then, I had only recently joined the Board of the Whidbey Institute; now I feel an integral part of helping to advance the strategy of our work. Then, I had had only a single season with my new vegetable garden; now I have cycled into it more deeply and am preserving the harvest: I just did my first hot bath canning of dilly carrots and pickled garlic! Then, I would go to the Muk for coffee and sit quietly with my book; now I often put my book aside to catch up with friends who unexpectedly appear.

My life is full and blessed and I wish the same for all those who in the future use this Good Cheer bowl.


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