West Tisbury: signs of spring


I grew up in a single-story house, then lived in mostly city apartments during my art-school years. So when I moved into Mike’s and my traditional story-and-a-half Cape in West Tisbury, a whole new world of treetops and expansive views opened up to me. Our woods seem to go on forever from our upstairs windows. I can look right into the tops of the dogwood trees. It’s a formerly unseen perspective that changes from year to year, as trees grow taller, and plantings of bulbs and perennials spread and reseed themselves in unexpected spots.

Those dogwoods arrived as a bundle of bare-root whips from Norman Lobb. Most of them survived. There are three up by my studio, four planted in an arc behind our house, and one I gave to my Aunt Janice, which now belongs to Salissa King, who bought Janice’s house. They are Florida dogwoods, the ones we grew up with in Connecticut that flourish at the edges of woods, mostly hemlock, mountain laurel, and sugar maples. They were my dad’s favorite tree, and I planted them here, remembering my dad and the huge dogwoods in our yard that I climbed into to feel invisible to the world.

This is the first year that my copper beech tree really shows up from the house, now almost as tall as me and branching out nicely. It’s planted out on the west lawn. In my imagination, I see it someday as wide and towering as the specimen on State Road in front of the Stones’ house.

On the east side is a green-leaved beech that Jean Wexler gave us about 20 years ago. Someday we will have to reroute our driveway, as the tree was really planted too close. It’s seven or eight feet high now, reaching toward the driveway, but so perfectly shaped and settled in its spot that it will be easier to prune its lower branches or just start driving a bit to the left.

I know I’m rambling on, but it’s so special to have plants that came from friends’ yards or that have memories, plans, or pictures in our minds. But I’ll stop for now.

It still feels raw, with the wind and rains of the past week. Even the past few sunny days have been windy. Only last Saturday felt like a real spring day. Coffee on our porch and lunch outside. Then it rained again, and the wind started up, and Sunday felt more like March than mid-May. But it all looks beautiful, especially this past week as the delicate shadbush and the blowsy Kwanzan cherry trees bloomed, making the season’s most notable contrast.

Another sign of spring is that our library is closed on Sundays through the summer. However, one Sunday a month the Martha’s Vineyard Quilting Guild will hold an all-day quilting retreat in the library. The first is this Sunday, May 22, from 9 to 4. Katherine Long will teach you how to make a very attractive quilted bag. Supplies will be available to buy. Or you can bring your own project to work on. And your machine, of course. The guild’s regular meeting is Wednesday, May 25, 6 to 8 pm, at the library.

Did you know that the library has passes to several museums and places of interest in our area? They’re a gift from the Friends of the West Tisbury Library. There are passes to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Art, Mystic Aquarium, New England Aquarium, U.S.S. Constitution Museum, Boston Museum of Science, and Zoo New England.

David Kish, WMVY host of “Sunday Morning & All That Jazz,” will host “Monday Night & All That Jazz” at the library this Monday, May 23, at 7 pm. The program is Jazz Scene USA 1962.

Two library events on Tuesday, May 24: Fan Ogilvie will read her poetry at 5 pm. And Martha’s Vineyard Mindfulness will meet at 6:30.

Marsha Winsryg has made a passion and goal of helping African women, children, and families. She has been teaching them and providing supplies for their crafts, which she promotes and sells in various venues on the Island during the summer and on her website: aacdpafrica.org. Her latest project has been training the mothers of children at the Mama Bakhita Cheshire School for the Disabled to craft the most wonderful dolls and to run their own businesses. Zambezi Dolls of Color Campaign needs to raise $7,625 for a basic website, laptop computers, tech training, Internet service, smartphones for communication and photography, and rental of a year-round workspace. She has a Generosity Crowdfunding page, or you can contact Marsha directly at 508-693-4059 or info@aacdpafrica.org.

This Saturday, May 21, is Armed Forces Day. The Oak Bluffs Library is honoring the occasion and hosting a talk about “Martha’s Vineyard in WWII” by local authors Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield. The event is open to the public, and especially to all veterans.

Grace Church will begin serving lobster rolls this Friday, May 20, 4 to 7:30, and every Friday through September. They regret that “lobster prices have skyrocketed,” so they have had to raise their prices accordingly. It’s $22 this year for an excellent, well-stuffed lobster roll, chips, and a beverage. Hot dogs are $4, and a slice of pie is $5. You can order in advance at 508-693-0332.

Mike mowed our lawn yesterday for the first time this season. He always looks happiest running, wielding, or repairing some piece of heavy equipment, and yesterday afternoon was no exception. I looked out the window from where I was reading the Sunday New York Times and delighted in the sight of my husband jauntily riding around on his orange Fire King tractor. Our place looks like a manicured park if you don’t look too closely.