Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
                                Langley resident Charles LaFond often ponders life and death on the grassy patch across the street from Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and next door to Healing Circles.

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group Langley resident Charles LaFond often ponders life and death on the grassy patch across the street from Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and next door to Healing Circles.

Outdoor observance

Although public gatherings are banned and many church services suspended, an Episcopalian priest and Langley resident was looking for a way to celebrate safely.

While out for a walk, Charles LaFond said he came up with an idea about how to honor a spectrum of spirituality and beliefs with an observance of nature in celebration of Easter, life or whatever the participant hopes to ponder.

It began on a grassy patch of land, across the street from Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and next door to Healing Circles. LaFond had visited this spot often with his black lab during the dog’s final days and, a few days ago, he observed tufts of fur left behind by presumably a rabbit that had been eaten.

An oblivious rabbit hopped by the scene of the crime, reminding LaFond of Easter as much as the Village by the Sea.

Thinking about both life and death, LaFond placed a stone near the tufts of fur and added a daffodil from a patch that grew nearby. As a final touch, he found sticks to place around the area in a box about three feet wide.

This ritual reminded him of Easter, and he wondered if a group of people may be able to safely gather six feet apart in boxes marked by sticks, have a quiet observance and be able to take a daffodil home.

After checking with the city, LaFond decided the answer is “yes.” He plans to make this idea a reality in the grassy patch near Healing Circles on Easter Sunday. All are welcome to attend.

“When you go to church, you’re sort of locked in that pew for an hour and a half,” LaFond said. “This is more come as you are, stay for a bit, leave as you want to be.”

He is still working out the details, searching for volunteers and for an organic Whidbey farm to purchase daffodils from.

“I don’t mind if there’s just three of us there and we have a lot of extra leftover daffodils,” LaFond said. “And I don’t mind if we have 200 people there, as long as we have enough volunteers to do crowd control.”

The intent is to replace the hype with hope — at a safe distance.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t want to wake up on Easter Sunday and go somewhere,” he said. “This was just my version of Church 2.0.”

But for others, LaFond acknowledges the experience can be spent pondering other things besides religion.

“I’m going to stand on the grass and look at the water and be grateful to be alive,” he said.

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
                                Charles LaFond demonstrates the celebration he has in mind for Easter Sunday, which involves quiet time and daffodils.

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group Charles LaFond demonstrates the celebration he has in mind for Easter Sunday, which involves quiet time and daffodils.

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