Kin Schilling is leaving the Monadnock Region after 38 years and it is going to leave a hole in the fabric of the community through which any of us will be able to peer. At the Hancock Inn we will miss her on the Croqui pitch, as a judge in our local “Chopped!” cooking contest (with Potter), her notecard watercolors of her chickens in our Gift Shop, her sheep in all the town parades along Main Street, her sweeping, no-one-left-behind care for neighbors as a one person meals-on-wheels whenever her considerable talents as a chef were needed to bring comfort.
It is not an exhaustive list, but we count four or five businesses, plus other bits and bobs, that Kin launched in her time here, two of which ought to rank as Monadnock institutions: Aesop’s Table, which is the cafe and gathering place in the Toadstool Bookstore in Peterborough, and The Cornucopia Project that Kin founded in 2006 to teach children about food and healthy living starting with a small patch of garden at her home. Today, Cornucopia boasts teaching gardens at every school in the region, touching thousands. Plus, there were the clothes she made and sold and the ice cream shop in Peterborough, and the raw milk from her cows that the young founders of Stonyfield Yogurt would buy to support their growing organic yogurt business.
Now, at this very moment, as part of what is becoming a ritual migration for many of us getting older, Kin is leaving to be nearer the children, heading West to Colorado after all these years.
Everyone makes a difference somehow in the world. It can’t be denied that there are countless people in the big cities touching countless other people in their communities with their ideas and initiative and charity. And, it can’t be any easier – maybe even harder – to make a difference in the big cities where the competition for resources is fierce, meaning also expensive, which is why so much of what needs doing in the big cities needs patrons, who must be wooed and won and preserved against the odds that confront every new idea or opportunity, whether big or small.
To lose any of those people, just like here, is cause for a bit of despair. But, you know, if we dwell on it (which you see we are) the difference between the bit of despair that might attend the departure of someone from the big city versus what attends the departure of someone like Kin from a hamlet like Hancock is the void it leaves behind. In the big city voids fill like a sand hole on the beach when the waves wash over it, which is approximately six times every minute.
Not here. We will wait longer for such a void to fill. We may wait years, and this is precisely what accounts for how very much closer the cadence of life lives to the surface in our small towns, never buried far enough underneath to escape notice, or appreciation, or, in cases, reverence. It is also the reason – as the joke goes – that everyone knows everyone’s business in a small town. But it is the reason the whole town turned out on the town green this past Saturday to wish Kin Schilling farewell.
Ric Haskins and Tom Shevenell are driving west with Kin, taking turns as passenger, driver or in the chase car behind, which is the U-Haul loaded with everything that didn’t fit into the larger U-Haul that went on ahead, piloted by one of Kin’s sons. Lois Haskins is flying out to meet the road team at the end of the week to help finish the unloading and to be there, we suppose, for the final shoving-off and good-bye. She and Ric are going to prowl around the country for a couple of weeks afterwards. See the big cities.
We had one of those mid-April nor’easters at the end of last week that dropped five inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground covering the crocuses and bending the branches on the barely blooming trees. Can you believe it? Today it is 65 degrees! Spring Interuptess.
The Inn is closed most of this week. We are putting down new floors in the kitchen. Looking forward to that.
The Low Pressure light is on in the truck signaling one of the tires needs air. Will worry about that tomorrow.
Well…that’s probably it then…
Good-bye, Kin. Thank you. We will all miss you.