March already. Witch hazels are blooming, making a bright display against recent snowfalls and rain-gray skies.
I am panic-stricken, as I always am by March 1. It signals the end of winter's respite. Around me are projects still unfinished, some not even begun. Taxes are looming. Yesterday I began emptying the bookcase in our living room, preparing to seriously weed our books and repaint the shelves.
Mike's earlier painting of our dining room looks so fresh and beautiful that I am inspired to finish the adjoining living room. He suggested I pile the books on our dining table. That should make our living conditions so uncomfortable and unsightly that the project will need to be completed quickly. At least that's my intention. I can see my husband's raised eyebrow and sardonic smile. "Grimly mocking or cynical," says the dictionary. That's it.
Happy birthday greetings to Tom Brennan. His February 28 birthday was celebrated early with a visit from his son, Tim, who came from Washington, DC. Tom's daughter, Eileen, was here the previous weekend, and of course, Cathy enjoys the pleasure of his company all the year 'round.
It's hard to believe that Gabriel Slossberg will turn 1 already on March 5. Happy birthday, Gabe.
Katherine Long hosted an impromptu cocktail party last Thursday evening. I had emailed earlier to say I would bring the wine and cheese, as I haven't seen my friend in way too long. When Martha Fleishman and I arrived around 5 o'clock, Leslie Baker and Julia Humphreys were there, too. We admired Katherine's new sofas and settled into them to enjoy our drinks and each other's company. The kittens are growing into cats, and as endearing and amusing as ever. Katherine's latest cat toy is a circle of fabric covering a battery-powered appendage that appears to run around like a half-hidden mouse, endlessly entertaining to the kittens, which were endlessly entertaining to us. Katherine said that she is going through batteries every two days. That's a successful cat toy.
An update to readers who remember Katherine and Tom's gift of a Silkie hen named Fern to my brother Andy for his birthday last year. When I spoke with Andy yesterday, he told me that he has never had a friendly and affectionate chicken before. Fern waits for him to come down to the coop and pick her up in his arms for a snuggle. She is really happy and doing well in her new home. Andy loves her madly.
The West Tisbury Church is planning several events to prepare for Lent. This Saturday, March 5, Cathy Minkiewicz will lead a study group, "Bible 101," from 10 am to noon. Bibles will be provided, or you may bring your own. Call 508-693-2842 to register.
Tuesday evening, March 8, a pancake supper and Mardi Gras Festival will be held from 5 to 7 pm. Rick and Hudson Bausman and Brian Weiland will provide music. There will be masks, beads, and games, as well. A donation of $5/person or $15/family is suggested. Karen Achille is in charge and looking for volunteers to help.
At noon on Wednesday, Reverend Baker will lead an Ash Wednesday service for healing and wholeness.
Dr. Enid Haller will lead the next Lyme Support Group meeting, to take place at the Howes House on Wednesday, March 9, at 6:30 pm.
Angela Anderson emailed news about her daughter, Lena Strothe, who is completing her studies with a semester and internship at Double Feature Films in Los Angeles. Lena has made the Dean's List at Emerson College. Angela apologized for her "motherly pride." No apologies necessary; motherly pride is appropriate and totally justified. Congratulations to Lena on her accomplishments.
Congratulations, too, to Alan Brigish, whose latest book, "Breathing in the Buddha: A Photographic Exploration of Buddhist Life in Indochina," was awarded first place in photography at the Ninth DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles. The book highlights Alan's travels and the lives of predominantly Buddhist residents of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. He explains the Buddha's teachings and their impact on people's lives.
My condolences to Ben, Nicole, Violet, and Reed Cabot. Their beautiful dog, Sally Louise Cabot, died last week. She was a good companion and much-loved.
Driving home the other day, I was listening to Ravel's "Bolero" on the radio and observing the colors in the landscape. The first time I heard "Bolero" was in a college freshman survey course. The instructor was Eugene Schweitzer. He danced across the stage, gesturing with enthusiasm, an enthusiasm that proved infectious to his audience. I never hear that piece of music without feeling gratitude to Dr. Schweitzer and remembering his class.
As for the colors, analyzing colors is a big part of my artist's day. I often think of Miss Jane Shields, my art teacher from first through third or fourth grade, who taught us to see purple in the shadows when we painted trees and foliage. That was a long time ago, but I see variations of colors every day. The point of this rambling is to note the effect a good teacher has on one's life. I have been lucky to have known several.