The last time that I was with Leo, it was for a game of Quidler at The Commons in Langley, WA. It was Leo, aged man in his 90s, who was quiet and slow in movement, but seemed to be seeing everything. It was me, staying a few days on Whidbey Island to visit with friends after hosting a leadership training and retreat. It was Sarah, one of those friends, herself in her mid 70s, at whose home I was staying. It was Roq, a best buddy who had driven down from Vancouver Island to be among mutual friends. It was coffee together. It was some real delight in the simplicity of a card / word game, which, by the way, Sara and Leo finished first and second in.
Leo was Leo Baldwin. I knew him primarily as father to Christina Baldwin, who herself has been a primary circle teacher for me, and friend / colleague now over the last twenty years. It was 2017 when we all played Quidler together at The Commons. It was October 2018 when Leo passed away.
In the bits that I was able to be with Leo, and to hear about him, he was spry. Alert. Smart. Kind. Twinkle of a smile. Leo was pretty natural, and simple in what he’d learned about community. He’s been honored by Whidbey Island Senior Resources in the naming of a daily (M, T, W, F) gathering for lunch, coffee, or learning — Leo’s Place. There are a few principles that Leo named in his latter years that were about creating village and connecting community.
- Find your place and fully inhabit it.
- Greet and meet and pause for story.
- Invite diversity among acquaintances and friends.
- Come to the table; eat in companionship, savor, and linger.
- Contribute generously from what you have learned along life’s way.
- Practice your values and your moral code.
- Live so that you die in the arms of community.
Today, thinking about community and village, I celebrate Leo, friendships shared over card games, and a certain learned simplicity about belonging.