West Tisbury: Early snow


I love watching snow falling, blowing across the windows, turning the world white. This afternoon I read with a friend a wonderful poem by Mary Oliver. It’s from her book, “What Do We Know,” and I am reprinting here. It’s called “Early Snow.”

Amazed I looked

out of the window and saw

the early snow coming down casually,

almost drifting, over


the gardens, then the gardens began

to vanish as each white, six-pointed

snowflake lay down without a sound with all

the others. I thought, how incredible


were their numbers. I thought of dried

leaves drifting spate after spate

out of the forests,

the fallen sparrows, the hairs of all of our heads,


as, still, the snowflakes went on pouring softly through

what had become dusk or anyway flung

a veil over the sun. And I thought

how not one looks like another


though each is exquisite, fanciful, and

falls without argument. It was now nearly

evening. Some crows landed and tried

to walk around then flew off. They were perhaps


laughing in crow talk or anyway so it seemed

and I might have joined in, there was something

that wonderful and refreshing

about what was by then a confident, white blanket


carrying out its

cheerful work, covering ruts, softening

the earth’s trials, but at the same time

there was some kind of almost sorrow that fell


over me. It was

the loneliness again. After all

what is Nature, it isn’t

kindness, it isn’t unkindness. And I turned


and opened the door, and still the snow poured down

smelling of iron and the pale, vast eternal, and

there it was, whether I was ready or not:

the silence; the blank, white, glittering sublime.


Although our snowfall last week wasn’t an early one, this poem uses such beautifully descriptive language that I wanted to share it with everyone reading this column.

There was a poetry reading at the library this afternoon when I happened by. Here are some of the events scheduled for the upcoming week:

Saturday, Feb. 10, 10 am to noon, Martha’s Vineyard Community Seed Library will meet for its annual seed swap and germination testing workshop. Bring any open-pollinated or heirloom seeds to swap or donate to the seed cabinet, or just come to learn about the group and what they do. At 4 pm, Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen will perform contemporary and traditional songs and music. The concert will include a special opening performance by Isaac Taylor.

Sunday, Feb. 11, 3:30 pm, an afternoon of live jazz with Eric Johnson and Jeremy Berlin.

Monday, Feb. 12, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop. At 7 pm, Writers Read will meet. Sign up at 508-693-4307.

Thursday, Feb. 15, a screening of a documentary film, part of the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Committee Winter Film Series. The film is “about the exhilarating, passionate, contentious early years” (1966–71) of the modern women’s movement. A discussion will follow.

Ben Stafford has added glass to the tile, stone, and flooring he sells and installs. His business and showroom are the Airport Design Center, located in the old Keyland Kitchen building leading into the airport.

Bobbie Lima has just returned from Arizona, where she attended a training led by noted author Tian Dayton called “Utilizing an Experiential Model for Treating Childhood Trauma and PTSD.” Bobbie will be giving a workshop at the Vineyard Haven Senior Center on Feb. 18, “Blocks to Spirituality: Co-Dependency and the Unresolved Patterns of Adult Children of Alcoholics.” If you are interested in attending, look at her website: bobbielima.com.

Mike is watching the Super Bowl while I’m writing. We are both confident that the Patriots will come from behind at the last minute to beat the Eagles. So far, the score is pretty close. But the Patriots are going to win.