West Tisbury: Dry weather means caution


It finally rained, a pelting, drenching, pounding, rushing, puddle-making rain. What a relief not to have to drag hoses around for a couple of days. It briefly cleared away the humidity that has plagued us these past “hazy, hot, humid” weeks, although the latest weather reports predict a return to that pattern for the upcoming week, with no rain, only a 10 to 20 percent chance.

Our fire department is worried about the dry conditions, so please be extra-careful. Watching the horrific fire in Northern California shows what conflagrations look like. Even the spark from a car can ignite dry grass and spread ferociously fast. I find cigarette butts thrown on the road every morning when I walk up the driveway for my paper. To repeat — please be extra-careful.

Firemen, rescue personnel, and EMTs have been out a lot this summer. There were two bad accidents that closed the Edgartown–West Tisbury Road — a car fire on Friday and a three-car accident Saturday afternoon. Smoke alarms and car accidents have kept our guys out almost every day, and prevented many a full night’s sleep, sometimes nights in a row. Thank you to all of you.

I have made a point of getting out a little more this summer, mostly to attend friends’ art openings and exhibitions, trying to see more art. Last week, I went to the Granary for Jeanne Staples’ opening, happy to see Jeanne and her husband Doug, as well as her dramatic, luminous landscapes. I also wanted to see Ken Vincent’s new work, as I have always liked how he translates the landscape in a stylized way. This week, I even ventured out to Vineyard Haven for Louisa Gould’s “15 @ 15” show to see paintings by my longtime friend and painting idol, Nancy Furino. Then on Sunday I finally got to Allen Whiting’s July show just in time before it closed. (He will be opening his August show, “Summer Season Part II,” with a reception Thursday afternoon, August 2, from 6 to 8 pm.) On to see Max Decker’s new paintings at the Field Gallery.

As an artist, it is always stimulating to look at art, always stimulating to see my friends, to share observations and conversations with them. Keeps me from getting too isolated in my own studio. I have to say that seeing work by Ken Vincent and Max Decker, young Vineyard-born and -raised artists of notable talent and merit, is so exciting. It’s been a wonderful art season so far.

Next to come are three exhibitions of new work opening this Saturday. Marie-Louise Rouff will show her abstract paintings at the West Tisbury library through the month of August. There will be an artist’s reception from 4 to 5 pm. Nancy Cramer will open her show at the MVCVA Gallery in Oak Bluffs, part of the Art Stroll, from 4 to 7 pm. Her show, on view through August 8, will include weavings, clothing, bead paintings, and jewelry. In a group show at A Gallery, Lucy Mitchell, Julia Mitchell, and Mariana Cook will exhibit works on paper, tapestries, and photographs respectively; opening from 5 to 7 pm.

Lots going on at the West Tisbury library this week. First, a “thank you” to the Friends and volunteers who worked so hard organizing this year’s book sale. They always manage to surpass last year’s efforts to make the current sale their best ever. It’s a great gift to the library and to everyone who finds just the right book, year after year.

A reminder that Island Grown Initiative serves lunch at the library every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 1 pm. It’s free, and everyone is welcome.

Thursday, August 2, 10:30 am, Paddington Bear will be the special guest reader at preschool story time. At 4:30 pm, Christopher Carrick will talk about “The Hidden Spiritual Agenda of Relationships.” At 7 pm, Cynthia Riggs will read from her latest mystery, “Widow’s Wreath.” Books will be available for sale and signing.

Friday, August 3, 4 pm, author Rob Bierregaard and illustrator Kate Garchinsky will talk about their children’s book, “Belle’s Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight.”

Saturday, August 4, 10:30 am, Drag Queen Story Time with Runa del Taco, who will read stories that “celebrate difference, embrace diversity, and showcase some of the things that make each and every one of us special.” At 4 pm, artist’s reception for Marie-Louise Rouff.

Monday, August 6, 11:30 am, Balance Workshop with a guest instructor. At 1:30 pm, Islanders Write: 5-Minute Writing Slam. Sign up at the Grange Hall that morning after 8 am.

Tuesday, August 7, 10:30 am, Felix Neck naturalists will lead a kids’ workshop, “All About Rocks.” Also at 10:30 am, kids and teens are invited to meet Rosebud, a 12-year-old black Lab who is a certified service dog. At 4:30 pm, Martha’s Vineyard Spirituals Choir will present “Songs From the Field,” a program of songs sung by slaves in the United States between 1619 and 1865 and the stories behind them. At the Grange at 7:30 pm, Tuesdays at Twilight features guitarist/upright bassist Eric Johnson and pianist Jeremy Berlin playing originals, transcriptions, and mainstream jazz. The concert is free. Josh Aronie’s Food Truck will be parked outside between 6 and 8 pm.

Wednesday, August 8, 4:30 pm, architect Bruce MacNelly will present “Building Form: Typology and Program.”

Thursday, August 9, 10:30 am, children’s author Rebecca Loescher and illustrator Sean Roach will read their new book, “The Mermaid of Martha’s Vineyard,” at preschool story time. At 5 pm, Grace Kennan Warnicke will talk about her book, “Daughter of the Cold War.”

Back when Jean Wexler used to write the garden column for the Vineyard Gazette, one of her funniest ever was about dragging hoses up and down the hill between her many gardens. Anyone who gardens is probably familiar with the scenario: Get the hose down the hill and realize there is a kink somewhere along the way, or you forgot to turn the water on. Up the hill to turn on the water, then down again, where you notice that your length of hose isn’t long enough to reach your newly planted shrub, or you left your tools in the wheelbarrow, still at the top of the hill. I am paraphrasing from Jean’s story as I remember it. She must have written it in the 1980s, and my memory isn’t what it was. But with such a long dry spell and plenty of time spent dragging hoses from one spot to another, thinking about that column still makes me laugh. Thank you, Jean.