Super volunteeer: A Q&A with Kent’s E. Barrie Kavasch
Published 12:02 pm, Wednesday, October 12, 2016
At the library, she leads courses on almost everything, from poetry to yoga, to give folks who drop in avenues, a road map of sorts, to living more mindful lives.
Q: Over the years you’ve studied herbs, poetry, American-Indians, chess and more. Do you have a particular passion? What is that interests you in the several subjects you study?
Writing is my particular interest and has been for much of my life. I love doing research, genealogy, even poetry and short stories. I have published many of my things in other books and anthologies. I mainly think of myself as a writer.
I have been a naturalist and ethnobotanist for most of my life and enjoy studying many details in nature. As a photographer and botanical illustrator, I use these simple skills to enhance my work. Most of my books use these skills to deepen observations that I write about.
Q: You’ve lived in Kent for almost a decade. What does the town mean to you?
The town of Kent is fabulous. It’s both an art and literary center, and an environmentally-minded center. There are so many fabulous aspects, from the churches to the wild lands, and the town is unusual in the respect that there is a wonderful environmental flow that people integrate well into their lives.
At the center of all the towns peoples’ interests is the library, as the hub of all this mixing where various art galleries, diverse shops nearby, and diverse people bring together their interests from all over.
Q: Along with authoring some two-dozen works, you’ve been a near constant volunteer at the Kent Memorial Library. What drives your volunteer work?
Sharing my interests drives me. It’s that I love people and books and their creative interests, and so much of that is rich, fluid and available in the library. The library and the people of Kent has lead me to outreach, and I love teaching everything from chess to meditation.
My interests in poetry, chess, yoga and more have enhanced my thinking and my devotion to the arts. I like to share the experiences I’ve had with others; to share the road-map to expanding one’s wherewithal to go deeper; to relax and enjoy art, to enjoy poetry. I love to share my devotion to things that are really required to live a well-lived life.
Q: Over your countless volunteer hours, you’ve taught chair yoga to older folks and chess to the Boy Scouts. What is it like to teach a demographic swath of Kent? What is that like?
Across the age range, there is one thing I teach — laughter yoga. And it’s such a wonderful way to thread through everyone's basic interests, because it can always move people into a new relaxing area. We all laugh, but we rarely notice how important it is to just open up and laugh. There is a vitality and importance to laughter, and its use should be something in everybody’s arsenal. Whether you’re painting, or out running, laughter is a great way to release.
Q: Barrie Kavasch could be called many things: A poet, an author, a yogi, an herbalist, a teacher, a volunteer. What do you call yourself?
Basically, I think of myself as a parent — a mother — and a grandmother: Someone who cares about all the life around me. Most important, central to the beauty our well-being, is family.
Q: What’s next for you?
We’re finishing up the book sale, and there has been an absolutely fabulous gallery exhibit at the Kent Memorial Library. And this weekend is a big one. I’ll be up early Saturday for yoga, but afterwords we have poetry from 10 a.m. to noon and chess from 1 to 4 p.m. It’ll be a packed day at our library, the hub of our wonderful little New England town.