West Tisbury

Fields, snow-striped, lie silent and waiting. The red fruit of winterberries clings to their branches, providing spots of color to the otherwise gray winter landscape. Cold has made the rhododendron leaves turn into themselves and shrivel like green icicles. I can’t imagine any groundhog sticking his nose out, let alone appearing long enough to see his shadow.

It was nice to see skaters on Whiting’s and Uncle Seth’s ponds as we passed by. Mike and I took the dogs to walk at Lambert’s Cove on Sunday afternoon. Our retrievers headed right into the water, joyful as in midsummer. We huddled in down coats against the wind, enjoying the sea smell and the view. When we stopped at Cronig’s on the way home, the store was filled with shoppers buying ingredients for spaghetti sauce or a long-simmering stew. We all stood in line comparing recipes.

Beth Kramer delivered our library’s grant application to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners in Boston last Monday, ahead of the January 27 deadline and the storm predicted for that day. A copy of the thick notebook is at the library for all of us to peruse.

Melissa Breese will be at the library Friday afternoon, February 4, at 4 pm, to speak about the paintings of Vaclav Vytlacil that will be on display throughout the month. All of the paintings were done in his studio overlooking Squibnocket. Vytlacil was associated with many of the great American Abstract Artists of the 20th century: Louise Bourgeois, Cy Twombley, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem DeKooning, and Arshile Gorky. I look forward to the exhibition and to Melissa’s presentation.

When I ran into Alan Ganapol earlier this week, he mentioned that he and Joy were celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary. Alan had planned a weekend in New York City for them. Congratulations and wishes for many more years together.

Leslie Baker and I headed out last Friday morning with boxes of pastels, looking for a spot to paint together. We have both been enjoying the portability of using pastels. Although there is still more to carry than you might imagine, it is substantially less than the amount of equipment we take out to paint and takes no time to set up. Afterwards you just close the pad, close the box of pastels, and away you go.

We found a pretty hillside with a long view down to a pond, ocean in the distance, interestingly mounded shrubbery. The colors were winter-washed shades of gray. Before we knew where the time went, it was after 1 o’clock. It felt so good to be looking at a landscape and making art. As one of us always says when we are out painting together, “We have the best life in the world.”

As Valentine’s Day approaches, opportunities abound for interesting events to share with your loved one. The West Tisbury Church has planned a concert for February 13, 4 pm, featuring pianist Lisa Weiss. She will perform with cellist Jan Hyer, soloist Kevin Ryan, and alto recorder player Matt Pelikan. The concert is called “From the Heart, A Valentine Treat.” Tickets are $15 and include refreshments after the concert. Proceeds will benefit the preservation of the historic church building.

“MADLOVE: A Valentine’s Celebration of Life, Love, and Martinis for Mad Men and Lovely Ladies” will take place at the Oyster Bar next Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Order tickets at http://www.ticketsmv.com/love. The event will raise money for Ten Thousand Means, an organization that supports women’s and children’s rights worldwide.

ACE MV is offering a free seminar about the current situation in Haiti at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School this Saturday, Feb. 5, 1-3 pm. Next Thursday, February 10, chef Christian Thornton of Atria will continue ACE MV’s Winter Cooking Seminar series with a Valentine’s dinner from 6:30-8:30 pm. For information and to pre-register for either event go to the website: www.ace.org.

Last weekend the West Tisbury Fire Department held an ice rescue drill, so I was particularly interested to read Laura Caruso’s latest column at wickedlocal.com. “All About Pets — Keeping Dogs Warm in the Winter” gave serious advice should your dog walk out onto the ice and fall through. DON’T FOLLOW THE DOG. CALL 911. They have the expertise and equipment. It seems obvious that if your 30- or 90-pound dog went through the ice that you are likely to. I know my inclination would be to try to save my dog. The smart thing to do is call for help. For those who don’t know her, Laura Caruso is Glenn and Linda Hearn’s daughter.

Mermaid Farm is one of my favorite places. A walk up the hill is always beautiful and a visit with Allen, Caitlin, the boys, and the dogs is always fun. Lately there have been notices regarding unreturned milk bottles. If they are on your counter or in the back of your truck, please return them to the farm.