West Tisbury: November's beauty


A gloomy start to November with gray skies and leftover debris from last week’s heavy rain and wind. Our woods look raggedy. The trees still have some leaves, too many to show just the beautiful structure of branches and tree trunks, too few to remain the colorful display of the past few weeks. There is more light, but more leaves on the ground and in the flowerbeds, all needing to be dealt with.

Surprisingly, it is still warm. This morning’s weather predicted temperatures in the mid-60s all week. So a good week to be outside doing chores, or just going for a walk. Or reading the paper on the porch, as I planned to do on Sunday before other things came along.

A couple of corrections from last week’s column before I start this week’s. In the section about interviews with Island folks who worked on “Jaws,” Clarke is Clarke M. Smith, not Clarke W. Smith. His interviews were part of a documentary on the “Jaws” Blu-ray DVD, “The Shark Is Still Working,” not a trailer.

Plan ahead for a special town meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7 pm, at the West Tisbury School. The warrant will be in both newspapers, or can be read online at westtisbury-ma.gov. It’s a fairly short agenda of bill-paying articles, but also changes to the sign bylaw, the personnel bylaw, and a couple of articles about the Affordable Housing Committee’s plans to develop next to Fire Station 1 on Edgartown–West Tisbury Road. I’m mentioning all this early, as there has to be a quorum for the meeting to proceed, so please plan to attend.

Another interesting town project to become involved with is the School Task Force, newly appointed by West Tisbury selectmen. Members are Richard Knabel and Susan Silk, co-chairs; Robert Lionette, Wenona Madison, Gary Montrowl, Michael Marcus, and Greg Orcutt. Their third meeting is this Thursday, Nov. 5, 5:30, at Town Hall. That’s today, as you are reading this column. Please attend if you can, and plan on attending as many of their meetings as possible. I will publish the dates as soon as I know them.

As most of us know, the economic and educational benefits and drawbacks of the Up-Island Regional School District have been a subject of disagreement for many years. The selectmen have charged this committee to “conduct a comprehensive review of the advantages and disadvantages of continuing participation in the Up-Island Regional School District.” They have already been busy interviewing the superintendent and others to address “the economic/funding, transportation, and educational issues.”

Mostly, they want townspeople to be involved in the meetings and ongoing discussions, in the entire process, so as to be fully educated ourselves before any upcoming articles that may be presented at town meetings. They are open meetings and everyone is invited.

David Stanwood will perform a free piano concert at the West Tisbury library on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 pm.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, there will be an artist’s reception in the Program Room of the library for Brigitte Cornand, and an opportunity to see her exhibition of photographs, “See You at the Dumptique.” The reception is from 4 to 5 pm. The exhibition will be up all month.

“Writers Read @ The West Tisbury Library” will meet on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 pm. Fiction and nonfiction writers will be given nine minutes to read their original work. Critiques are optional.

Next Sunday afternoon at 3:30, there will be a community poetry reading with West Tisbury Poet Laureate Emma Young as moderator. More info in next week’s column.

I received an email from former library presence and friend Jennifer Tseng, with a link to a wonderful story she wrote. I’m printing it here so everyone can read it, too:  lithub.com/how-to-leave-an-island-on-life-libraries-and-commuting-by-canoe/.

The Chilmark Women’s Symposium XXXVI meets this Saturday, Nov. 7, 9 to noon, at the Chilmark Community Center. The topic is “Never Say Never.” Donations are welcome, but not required.

Congratulations to Holly Bellebuono. Her book, “Women Healers of the World: The Traditions, History & Geography of Herbal Medicine,” has won the Book of the Year Award from the International Herb Association.

A late “Happy Birthday” to Millie Gault, who celebrated last week, Oct. 27. I’m on time sending birthday good wishes to Sandy Turner for Nov. 7.

I’m not as good as John Alley at knowing everyone’s birthdays, so consider good wishes sent out to the universe of West Tisbury when yours comes along.

The sun is breaking through the clouds as I write this. There is a bud for perhaps the last pink rose (‘Heritage’) outside in the garden. I picked a full flower of ‘Abraham Darby,’ now in a ceramic vase on my windowsill, still fragrant. Yesterday was my birthday, so this morning I had leftover chocolate cake for breakfast. All in all, a pretty perfect morning.

The doors and windows are all open, letting in the still-warm air. Time to take Talley outside and see what’s happening out there. I have found a couple of white rhododendron flowers and some blue myrtle flowers tucked down in the greenery. I can see where foxgloves and campanulas have seeded themselves and will bloom next spring. Kousa dogwoods seedlings that Roe Belain gave me last year are branching out into beautifully shaped little trees. But not to get ahead of myself. There’s still a bit of color in our woods, bouquets to be clipped of holly, winterberry, and andromeda. Little pumpkins on the window sills for Thanksgiving. Still plenty of fall to savor.