West Tisbury: Winter sunsets

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One of the things I love about winter is seeing sunsets. As soon as the trees in our woods leaf out, the sky is mostly obscured for much of the year. Now the leaves are off the trees, and spaces have opened up between branches and tree trunks. Looking out to the west, I can see the sky color in late afternoon, sometimes richly yellow, sometimes flaming orange or pink. Cadmium Yellow Deep, Montserrat Orange, Dianthus Pink, both with a bit of Cadmium Red Light mixed in. I don’t particularly like paintings of sunsets; they often look contrived or mawkish. But I do like the view itself, and am enjoying the fiery ending to the winter day.

For all the months of preparation for Christmas and Hanukkah and New Year’s, it flies by in a flash. Guests have come and gone. Presents have been opened, the wrappings thrown away or burned up. Holiday meals have been eaten and gone directly to stomachs and hips, leaving many of us rueful, although the delight at the time is still within memory. Some have already taken down the tree and put decorations away for another year. We have toasted in 2017.

I went over to visit Margaret Logue last week, to see her and her tree. Margaret’s trees are amazing, huge, and filled with generations of ornaments, carefully curated by Margaret, her daughter Kathy, and granddaughter Megan Mendenhall. As an added treat, Bill and Chris Logue were there from Connecticut with their three kids, Kate, James, and Meg, Chris’s mother Polly, two dogs, and two darling young Siamese cats, who greeted me at the door. Later, the kitties were napping, curled into a clump by Kate’s legs as she read on one of the sofas.

I have long regretted not getting two kittens when we got Nelson. He came into an old family, Mike and me in our 60s, and two older dogs. Not much fun for a young, active kitten. Seeing these two cats together made me wonder again if we could acclimate a young cat into our household, or if Nelson would attack it. I certainly wouldn’t want another one who bites. And I wouldn’t want Nelson to feel supplanted in my affections when he was in the mood to be the only cat on my lap. He can be very loving when he’s not biting.

Community suppers are beginning at the West Tisbury Church this Wednesday, and will continue every Wednesday evening at 5:30 through April. Anyone is welcome to attend. It’s free. If you care to bring a side dish, you may, but you are only required to bring yourself, and a friend if you choose. If you are interested in volunteering, they could use some help. Please call the church office weekdays between 9 am and 1 pm: 508-693-2842. We are lucky to have this opportunity to get together through the winter months, so do come and enjoy your dinners and your neighbors.

If you have taken down your Christmas tree and are looking for a way to get rid of it, bring it to the West Tisbury town dump this Saturday, Jan. 7, any time between 8 am and noon. Our Highway Department will be running their chipper and will make short work of your tree. It’s free, a “thank you” to the town for our support.

Susan Block, writing for the Martha’s Vineyard Partnership for Health, announces an informational meeting to introduce their new program, “My Life in Health.” Come to the West Tisbury library next Thursday, Jan. 12, 11 am to noon, to learn about a free six-week series of classes for people managing their chronic health condition, or providing supportive care for a loved one with. If interested, call 508-627-5797, ext. 114, or email ksamways@ihimv.org.

Other programs at the library this week include:

A free series of Pilates classes begins this Friday at 4 pm. Space is limited, so call to preregister, 508-693-3366. You must commit to all four sessions.

There will be an artist’s reception for Anna Finnerty on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 7, at 4 pm. Her pastel landscapes are beautifully designed and rendered, well worth a visit. They will be on display in the Program Room through January.

Michael Tinus and Eric Johnson will play live jazz at a concert Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm. They want to acknowledge the Friends of the West Tisbury Library and the West Tisbury Library Foundation for their generous support of music programming.

Writers Read will meet at 7 pm on Monday evening, Jan. 9, at 7 pm. Call 508-693-4307 to sign up for an eight-minute reading spot, or just come.

An episode of MVTV’s series “Martha’s Vineyard Signs Then and Now,” will be shown on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 4 pm.

All library programs are free, and everyone is welcome.

I am happy to report that Karin Stanley is “not retiring, but moving on to new ventures.” She is, however, leaving her post at the Polly Hill Arboretum. The new education, membership, and outreach coordinator is Ann Quigley, who has been working at the West Tisbury library for the past few years. Ann is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a degree in sustainable landscapes. Congratulations, Ann, on your new job, although we will miss you at the library. Congratulations, too, to Karen. I can’t wait to hear what you will get up to, and maybe we will finally get to sit down for that cup of tea we have been talking about.

Every December I buy myself a new red notebook in which to take notes for my columns. There is something cheerful about the bright cover enclosing a whole year’s worth of empty pages. A couple of pages have been filled now, with notes for next week, Jan. 12. But most of it remains untouched, unknown, awaiting the stories and news of West Tisbury 2017.