West Tisbury


I have accused my husband of having chain saw madness for almost 30 years. Now I’m wondering if it is contagious?

We had gone out this afternoon to cut part of a huge rhododendron that had fallen in the last storm. It left a hole of sunlight in our border, a place of openness, much like the feeling I am trying to bring to our home. Space, tranquility, order.

So I pointed to a couple of overgrown honeysuckle bushes and said, “What about these? Could you take off a couple of branches? I’ll show you.” I suspect you have already figured out that a couple of branches led to a couple more. Both bushes have been cut to the ground. A rose of Sharon that was supposed to be white but turned out pink is gone, too. I never liked it and now it’s gone. I’m looking at things I planted years ago that have grown too large, too close, that weren’t quite as I expected. A chain saw can change it all in an instant.

I have been prone to a certain laxity or abhorrence about pruning. That’s part of the problem. On the occasions when I have been out with a sharp pair of heavy loppers, I have made notable progress, just not regularly enough. Now I want to clean things out. I hope I won’t be horrified when I look outside tomorrow morning, though in the garden every death is an opportunity.

Bob and Barbara Day traveled by train to New Haven, Conn., then on to Middletown to Wesleyan University where their granddaughter, Jessica Carlson, is a freshman. There, they met their daughter, Catha, and son-in-law, Dave Carlson, grandson Luke Carlson, their son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Tracy Day. The family had gathered to see Jessica perform in The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. The performance has been an annual event staged by theatre students at Wesleyan in recognition of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. The campaign involves local volunteers and college students who produce the benefit performances every year on February 14. This year marked the 15th anniversary of V-Day. One billion women world-wide were called to “Walk Out, Dance, Rise Up, and Demand an end to this violence.” May it be so.

Many of you may know John Zeisel, resident of Chilmark, researcher for Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, author of “I’m Still Here” and founder of the Hearthstone assisted-living residences. Dr. Zeisel and Hearthstone have developed a fundraising program for PBS called Hopeful Aging, in his words “…a positive narrative that features the I’m Still Here approach to dementia care.” It will be shown Friday, March 8, at 1 pm on WGBX channel 44 and on Monday, March 11, at 3 am (yes, AM) on WGBH channel 2. It may be shown at other times as well. Please watch it and pledge to public television if you have the opportunity. I read Dr. Zeisel’s book and have heard him speak at our library a few years ago. His insights into caring for someone with Alzheimer’s are truly inspiring.

The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group is hosting a potluck party this Sunday, March 10, at 5 pm at the P-A Club in Oak Bluffs. “A Celebration of Survival and Support” is not a fundraiser, just an evening to get together, share good food, and be grateful. The group holds weekly meetings every Wednesday at noon at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. For more information, call Leslie Stark at 646-242-6744 or Jane Carroll at 508-696-9849.

The Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network will host a breakfast social at Cafe Moxie on Tuesday, March 12, from 8 to 9:30 am. Kristin Buck, president of the organization, says, “You do not have to be a member to attend this free event. All are welcome to come mingle and exchange ideas. Bring your business card.” The MVWN’s Small Business Grant will be announced and applications will be available. Look at mvwomensnetwork.org for details.

Every Sunday I say to Mike, “I have nothing to write about in my column this week.” And every Sunday I sit down to write and something always comes up. This past week was particularly bleak with school vacation and everyone seemingly off Island. It was pretty quiet. But there is always something to observe or some thought that comes to mind. And life goes on.