Author: Kate Poss | With Photos by David Welton

Kate Poss This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine. David Welton Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!

Our spirits are revived when visiting the serene Earth Sanctuary. There is another dimension to the nature reserve these days: One can plant memorial trees for life events such as birth, death, marriage, and anniversaries. Now cremated ashes may be planted/scattered as well in a setting that cultivates compassion and connection with nature. Sitting with Chuck Pettis in his home’s great room a little while ago, we talked about trees. Writer Fred Bixby had donated a baby sequoia tree to the Earth Sanctuary recently, and it was planted near the reserve’s Infinite Tower sculpture. The tree can live up to…

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One of our island’s great community benefits is Island Transit. Folks ride the bus for zero fare Mondays through Saturdays on Whidbey and Camano islands. The county-wide transit system hosts monthly ‘Ride with a Guide’ outings so folks can meet fellow islanders and learn something new along the way. Maribeth Crandell is the agency’s guide for the ride and is skilled at engaging people and bringing them together. I was interested in joining Maribeth on the January 24th field trip, ‘Book Lover’s Bus Tour.’ I happened to learn about it while shopping at Kingfisher Books last weekend buying Maribeth’s 2019…

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The impeachment hearings have riveted my focus since the holidays and I agree that 2020 is a Big Year. The Big Year is also the name of a great film about birders who compete to identify the most bird species in a year. There are estimates of more than 18,000 bird species on Earth. Our island’s bird nation is pretty impressive and it deserves our attention. Apparently others feel the same way about birds, too, because the Universalist Unitarian church in Freeland was filled to the brim with folks earlier this month to hear the real deal about Cooper’s Hawks.…

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Typically the days following Christmas and New Years are a let down. But the Langley Main Street Association  and glassmaker Callahan McVay chased the blues away by hosting the annual Sea Float Scramble last Saturday at Seawall Park and at the Langley Park for children under 5. Callahan’s miniature sea float creations were the prize and a thousand-plus of the orbs were up for grabs. Early gatherers were lucky to get a globe. Others, like a mom and her two kids visiting from the mainland, arrived too late. She bought a pair at Callahan’s Firehouse, two for $70, where the…

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I never thought I’d have the courage to do it, but I started the year with a cold dip at South Whidbey Parks and Recreation’s and the Island County 4H Teen Leadership Club’s annual polar bear plunge at Double Bluff Beach. More than 150 folks joined in on a warm-for-January first, fifty degree day. The energy was catching and powerful, making me feel like I could be fearless for 2020! Our photographer David Welton stood in his jeans in the 47.5 degree water to bravely capture the scene. Bravo, David! The hardest part was thinking about how the cold would be.…

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This year on Christmas day I was walking in Langley with my husband and son. They had gone shopping in the Star Store and while I waited out on the sidewalk, six-year-old Rhyze Greer came by with a camera and his parents Maisie and Bin. I met Rhyze at last summer’s Soup Box Derby and was taken by the full attention he paid to being a very good flag waver at the race’s end. Rhyze kindly helped a young racer cross the finish line when the racer’s vehicle ran out of steam. His cheerful focus for what he was doing…

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While meteorologist Cliff Mass writes that yesterday Dec. 20 was ‘the darkest day in Seattle history,’ Langley celebrated the Advent Season with a lantern walk that brought us light. Shannon Arndt, owner of Soundview Center Physical Therapy, wrote in a flyer: “Is it only for kids? No! This walk is a chance for all of us to show our inner light, and to use our lanterns as a symbol of our spirit as a community. It may be the darkest time of the year but South Whidbey has a lot of light to share with the world!  Everyone is invited to make a lantern…

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Banish seasonal darkness and drive into the light. The City of Langley’s streets offer an antidote to the dark season. Whether it’s Tim Leonard’s unique light show at the Machine Shop, white lights wrapped in street trees or on our store fronts, this is the time to lighten up. Our photographer David Welton captured our Village by the Sea’s love of the natural world as well with his photos of an owl, crows, a robin, and whales. This is the time of angels. Notice where they are for a mood lifter. My husband Bill Poss drove into Langley tonight–Friday, Dec.…

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By facing our feelings of grief instead of burying them, we can feel less alone and more connected with life. Susan Cyr, a licensed mental health counselor, has found her niche in grief counseling for bereaved parents. With an established practice in Shoreline, Susan recently opened an office in her Langley home. We chatted in her sunny living room the day after Thanksgiving. After our two-hour chat, I came away feeling lifted, though we’d just talked about pain, fear, and death. What we did is connect on an honest level that is balm for the spirit. “In my view, grief…

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