West Tisbury: Days are notably shorter


The days are notably shorter already. I notice that I have to turn the lights on in the kitchen when I come down in the morning to make coffee and feed the animals. At the end of the day, too. Lights on when it’s time to start dinner, lights on to read in the living room. Six o’clock in the morning and six o’clock in the evening.

It’s feeling cooler, too. Looking ahead to this coming week, all the day’s temperatures will be in the 70s, then down to the high 50s, low 60s at night. So much better than those endless hot and humid days and nights.

I’m watching the colors starting to change, in subtle ways around the Mill Pond, where the greenery along the far shore now shows a rusty orange cast. It’s brighter in the fields along the roadways, as goldenrod approaches its peak.

It’s hard to believe it’s Labor Day already, this coming Monday, Sept. 2. A day off before school opens and the season truly begins its change toward fall. The library will be closed on Monday, as will Town Hall, and the Post Office.

Tuesday, when the library reopens, will be a bittersweet day of celebration of children’s librarian Nelia Decker on her last day before her well-earned retirement. The staff invites everyone to stop by during the day to wish Nelia well. If you are free from noon to 1, there will be a free lunch served, and at 4 o’clock there will be CAKE. Yay! 

Nelia has been at the library for 25 years, becoming children’s librarian when Gay Nelson retired. She has risen to every challenge as the library and West Tisbury grew and expanded together. Nelia’s children’s room is a magical place; she has read to and encouraged children to love books and reading, and to regard libraries as the most special places in the world. She has given them a love that will sustain them throughout their lives. I know this, as Phyllis Paccadolomi of the Ridgefield library gave this gift to me when I was a child.

Our new children’s librarian will be Alexandra Pratt. She has become a familiar face behind the circulation desk and around the library for the past few years, and we welcome her as she begins her new position.

Other events at the library this week:

Thursday, August 29, 4:30 pm, Annette Sandrock will read from her newly released book of poetry, “Labyrinth.”

Friday, August 30, 10:30 am, Chris Willard will read from his new children’s book, “Alphabreaths,” a story about mindful breathing. At 6 pm, Dr. Kevin Esvelt, director of the Sculpting Evolution Lab at MIT, will discuss the importance of ethical decisionmaking in bioengineering and science.

Monday, Sept. 2, closed for Labor Day.

Tuesday, Sept. 3, the first learning lab of the school year will take place from 3 to 5 pm. There will be crafts, help with homework, and snacks in the Young Adults Room every afternoon after school for kids ages 10 and up.

Labor Day used to be the official end of summer, and the Vineyard used to quiet down into its off-season rhythms. I remember when almost everything closed up. Now there hardly feels an off-season at all anymore, as the “shoulder seasons” become more touted and advertised. Everyone is complaining about the traffic as both the Steamship Authority and the airport push to increase their capacities. This has been a conversation ever since I moved to the Island almost 40 years ago, and it continues to this day.

Meanwhile, the cooler weather has made Nanuk more playful, and brought the cats inside at night. As I look out the windows, our woods seem to be fading, and the leaves are tinged with yellow light, all arranging the landscape into patterns of changing colors that herald our procession toward autumn. I am grateful.