Usually I write my column Sunday night. Sometimes it comes easily and other times I feel totally without a thing to say. So it seemed that a walk on the beach would be just the thing. Ellen Weiss told me a story about Henry Beetle Hough saying he took walks around his pond when he was stuck while writing his column. I think of it as procrastination, which comes as easily to me as breathing.
Ellen and I, with my lab, Talley, went to Hancock Beach, a favorite spot. It was a perfect blue sky morning, big puffy clouds overhead. We saw the first red wood lilies along the way, the promise of pink mallows, and a pair of bobwhites.
One of the marvels of the long drive in is going through varying woodlands and fields, then climbing over a dune to see the ocean spread in front of us. That contrast always thrills me. I feel intensely “noticing” at the beach, watching the waves rising sharp-edged and turning over themselves to leave lacy patterns on the sand. Crabs and shells, rocks gleaming, round, elongated, polished or not yet against the waves and sand. Beach glass, wampum, weathered driftwood. I came home with an orange balloon left behind by children or revelers. Cheerfully, its string wrapped around Ellen’s wrist, it now hangs in my hallway, bouncing in welcome to all who enter.
The beach is right down the road, but imagine going all the way to Europe for inspiration. That’s what Laura Wainwright did. In preparation and celebration of her 60th birthday, coming up on July 20, Laura took two wonderful-sounding trips.
The first was to northern Spain, where she walked 75 miles in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims along the Santiago di Compostella Pilgrimage Trail. Laura has always been interested in medieval history, in Gothic and Romanesque churches. She found the meditativeness of the walk, as well as the historical interest of this area rich with remnants of Roman and Celtic occupations, totally fascinating.
In France, she studied with Natalie Goldberg at a week-long silent writing retreat similar to those she has attended in Taos. The retreat was in Limousin, north of Limoges, in southwest France. The topography was of rolling hills and rivers, a very remote place where she counted two cars, two vans, and a school bus while on an hour’s walk one day.
The retreat was bookended by three days each in Paris, a place Laura had been before, “but never fell in love so hard as this time.” Having always felt a romantic and artistic attachment to Paris, I was enchanted by her descriptions of the walks, the buildings, the markets, the art. “The sense of aesthetics is profound,” she said, before telling me about her visit to The Orangerie Museum where she saw 24 panels from Monet’s Water Lily series, huge paintings done at four different times of day to capture the effects of light, all displayed together, one after the other, playing off each other, in rooms designed to show them off. It all sounds like a lovely way to spend one’s time. I wish you many more happy birthdays, Laura, and many more trips.
Closer to home, Polly Hill Arboretum reports that their grounds are beautifully in flower after all the rain, and they invite visitors to enjoy the views. There are also lectures and tours. This week’s is by Guy Sternberg, landscape architect, arborist, and director of Starhill Forest Arboretum. “Trees in a Changing Climate” begins at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evening, July 17. Thursday morning at 10 am, he will talk and lead a walk around arboretum grounds. The subject is “Nature as Art: Trees in the Landscape.”
Patricia Cliggott and friends’ Lovingkindness Sale continues this Thursday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm, at her home, 129 Indian Hill Road.
Come for dinner, in or take-out, at Flatbread Pizza on Tuesday, July 23, to benefit the M.V. Center For Living. They are raising money for a permanent home for their Supportive Day Program, a godsend for many seniors and their families.
Nadia Bollin and her friend Maggie Wendt are in town visiting Nadia’s Grandma Luisann Flanders and cousins, Kayleigh and Isabelle Bollin. The girls are here from St. Augustine, Florida. Nadia is the daughter of Peter Bollin.
Sarah Wasserman and her sons, Henry and Hugh Bassett, are spending every morning at the West Tisbury School working on the Friends’ Annual Book Sale. Dates are July 26–29, 9 am to 3 pm every day. They were at the airport for Sunday morning breakfast with Grandpa Bob Wasserman and a group of friends from England.
The Tuesday Night Drop-in Knitting Group at Vineyard Knitworks resumes Tuesday evening, July 16, 7–9 pm. Two classes for beginning and advanced beginning knitters are planned, so call 508-687-9163 or stop by.
Holly Bellebuono has planned a series of workshops for July and August. The first, “Herbal First Aid and Healing the Skin,” takes place July 25 at Vineyard Herbs, Teas, & Apothecary. Stop by or look at her website for information.
Congratulations to local guitarist, singer, piano tuner, and now piano designer Boaz Kirschenbaum. He has built a high-performance grand piano at his Cherry Tree Piano Company on Lambert’s Cove Road. Earlier this month, it won accolades at the Piano Technicians Guild National Institute and Conference in Chicago. The piano was designed as an affordable musician’s instrument suitable for recording and small venues. The project was a collaboration with Feurich Company and featured an action designed by David Stanwood.
Mike and I had a bad scare, almost losing our kitty, Porter. He was not eating and lethargic. We were not eating and lethargic, too, so assumed Porter’s problem was just the heat. He turned out to have anaplasmosis, a tick-borne bacterial infection. Yes, cats can get diseases from ticks. He’s been on antibiotics for the past week and continues to improve daily. Dr. Jasny may write about it in medical detail so look for her up-coming column.