West Tisbury


I don’t have much people news this week, but the natural world is providing surprises almost minute by minute. Vegetable seedlings seem to grow inches a day. The fields, marshes, and woodlands appear greener. This is the time of year I love to be outside, observing everything with all my senses. I would be happy if it was always spring.

Sitting in an old apothecary jar on my windowsill is a single multi-flowered stem of Hawera, a late narcissus of the palest yellow. It has tiny down-facing, dangling flowers, small perfectly round cups with long delicate petals. The breeze is turning it gently away, then towards me again.

In contrast, the pitcher on the table holds an explosion of flowers. This variety is Sir Winston Churchill, as double and heavily petalled a creation as one can imagine. They, too, are pale colored, like heavy cream, with a touch of bright orange in their centers. The flowers are no more than two inches across with strong stems, so they stand up nicely in the garden, unlike some of the larger varieties that fall over easily. Mine are beautiful, except for the clump where Mike throws the hose over them when he mows. Thankfully, nature is resilient.

In the Mill Pond, Bob has been flapping his wings at any intruders and Bobette appears a distant presence on her nest. All seems well.

Katherine Long’s hummingbird from last week has reappeared, now a regular presence. Usually, it is Molly Cournoyer and her nephews who report the earliest hummingbird sightings in town. I asked Becky the other day and she said she was puzzled that they hadn’t seen any yet. I was working in the garden by my studio one afternoon near dusk when one surprised me, fluttering silently suspended for a moment, then gone.

The Great Pond remains high. There was a bit of beach visible, not enough to walk across, but enough to make a golden stripe along either side of the landscape.

Lilacs are already blooming. I always remember having a huge bouquet on the table for Memorial Day weekend, but the last few years they have mostly gone by by then. Our earliest rhododendrons and azaleas are beginning to bloom. Time for walks at Polly Hill’s.

A reminder that there will be a special town meeting next Tuesday, May 21, 7 pm, at the West Tisbury School. There are seven articles on the agenda: appropriations for replacing windows in the County Courthouse and setting up a town-based pest management protocol, extending the time for spending money appropriated for apartments at Sepiessa, two articles to create stabilization funds for roads maintenance and buildings maintenance, and Articles 6 and 7 that propose interim regulations for medical marijuana uses and regulating marijuana use in public.

Our Library Foundation’s Summer Speakeasy Series kicks off next Wednesday evening, May 22, 5:30 pm, at State Road Restaurant. The speaker is Judith Hannan, author of “Motherhood Exaggerated.” Hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will be served. The cost is $35 for this interesting and delicious event.

The nicest man drove into our driveway last week. He was looking for directions. He asked if I was the Hermine who wrote the West Tisbury column and I said I was. He described himself as “a wash-ashore wannabe” who loves my column, reads and enjoys them all. He said the columns keep him feeling connected to the Island. He met Talley, saw my garden that I write about, shared a few moments of conversation, then drove off on his mission. Compliments are always appreciated. Thank you, sir.