West Tisbury: Daffodils beginning to bloom


By the time you are reading this week’s column, town meeting will have come and gone, and our local elections will be in progress. If you haven’t voted yet, hours are 7 am to 8 pm at the Public Safety Building.

Our erratic “spring” weather continues. Cold one day, milder the next, windy or calm, pouring or dry. It feels unexpected, and it almost is, to see and feel sunshine. We certainly haven’t seen or felt much of it lately, and I have heard lots of complaints about going from winter directly into summer with little unfolding of spring in between. That’s a typical complaint of our long, cool spring season. Just remember that we will have a lovely long fall to make up for it.

Still, daffodils and early tulips are up, many showing green buds that will turn into bright flowers probably sooner than we think possible. Just a few sunny days are needed. Peas are planted in many gardens around town. There is a pair of swans on the Mill Pond, and cygnets will likely appear soon. Pinkletinks can be heard as you drive by with your car windows open.

I was so sorry to hear that Flip Harrington died last week. It feels impossible to think of Flip other than as vital, handsome, full of energy, life, and knowledge, especially about the natural world he so hugely inhabited. He seemed like an ecosystem all on his own. With Soo, of course. My condolences to Soo Whiting and their family and friends.

Congratulations, well-deserved, to our new Police Chief Matt Mincone, and to Skipper Manter being promoted to lieutenant.

Monday is Patriots’ Day, the Boston Marathon, and the beginning of spring break. The Red Sox will play the Orioles at 1:05 pm.

What a lovely article Gwen McAllister wrote about Ruth Kirchmeier’s current exhibition of woodcuts at MVTV. The woodcut on the front of the Calendar section was stunning, and Ruth is such an articulate describer of her work, the process of making it, her thoughts about art. A correction, though. My gallery, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, is not a “former gallery,” as stated in the article. I will be open this summer, and Ruth and I have our opening party planned for July 8.

The West Tisbury library has a busy week planned, with many special events for school vacation. They will be closed on Monday for Patriots’ Day, but Tuesday through Friday there will be drop-in crafts set out during the day, and movies at 1 pm for children and young adults. Free soup and bread lunches will be served from 11:45 to 12:45.

The library and Martha’s Vineyard Film Society have collaborated to present a free interactive showing of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on Wednesday, April 18, 1 pm, at the Film Center in Vineyard Haven. There will be a sorting hat to make sure everyone is assigned to their proper Hogwarts house. Reserve your ticket at mvfilmsociety.com. Doors will open at 12:30 pm.

Other events include:

Saturday, April 14, 3 pm, a rock concert for kids with the Pinkletinks, and at 7 pm, a poetry reading, “Impact of War on Communities,” with Vietnam veteran Greg Spain.

Sunday, April 15, 1 pm, Melissa Clay and Jennie Isbel Shinn’s DIY Wellness Workshop, “Tummy Troubles.” At 3 pm, Death Cafe with facilitator Heather Massey and Woods Hole artist Joan Lederman.

Wednesday, April 18, 1 pm, the Harry Potter movie at the M.V. Film Center, and at 5 pm, filmmaker Ben Tumin’s multimedia presentation examining the impact of refugee resettlement in the U.S.

Thursday, April 19, 3:30 pm, Leah Crosby from the Yard will lead an Earth Day–themed dance workshop for young adults ages 9-13. Signup at the library is required. At 4:30 pm, a concert, “Mozart: Music and Letters,” by period instrument ensemble Musicians of the Old Post Road.

I have been fascinated by the interactive dance as my two cats learn to live together. Nelson was always the alpha male who terrorized the dogs, and seemed to rule with an iron paw. We wondered what would happen when Mona moved in. Would he tolerate her? Or let her know who was boss? It never occurred to me that Mona would move in and take right over. She established her place, and Nelson seemed to accept his new situation.

It makes me sad that he doesn’t come up on our bed anymore, although he sometimes comes upstairs with us at night and sometimes sleeps on Talley’s old dog bed. Oddly, they will both be on the sofa downstairs, not touching, but relatively side by side. Sometimes they will walk up to one another and touch noses, negotiating some secret compact. They often run around upstairs, but then there are times when they eye one another suspiciously, and won’t walk past whoever has set himself or herself as guardian of the stairs or the door into the hall.

It’s been two months now. Mona is beginning to go outside. She is hardly a fragile elderly lady at 18. She likes to lie on the porch on a sunny afternoon, and is starting to explore beyond, into the yard and the woods. Nelson will be 5 in August, and he will likely be an only cat again, but watching him turn into such a gentleman has been something I never expected. He’s gracious the way Talley was when he moved in, and her spirit apparently lives on in a way I never imagined.

P.S. I walked outside after filing this column to find daffodils blooming, the tiny ‘Tete a Tete’ variety that are the earliest.