West Tisbury: Next phase of the season


Where to start. Over 100,000 Americans dead, over a million infected with coronavirus. Our country ablaze in violence after the merciless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Yet I look out my window at the most peaceful scene, spring at the peak of its glory. Nothing scares or menaces me. I am safe in this beautiful place. This contrast has been a constant companion throughout this period of quarantine. The world doesn’t make sense.

Don’t think I don’t realize how fortunate I am that I can feel this way.

My thanks to Police Chief Matt Mincone and his fellow members of the Martha’s Vineyard Chiefs of Police Association for their letter to our Island community, reassuring us that violence and disrespect would not be tolerated here.

Tara Whiting-Wells told me that our annual town meeting will be held at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs at 4 pm on Tuesday, June 23. The warrant has been reduced to 29 articles, the most important, to keep funding basic town services, as well as to keep the meeting as short as possible. More details to come on parking, seating, etc. You can still apply online or at town hall for an early or absentee ballot for the election on Thursday, June 25 at westtisbury-ma.gov/town-clerk.

As businesses in town have begun opening, I am learning to preorder at Ghost Island and North Tisbury Market. Both make it as easy as I suppose it can be. They call when your order is bagged and ready, then you go to pick it up outside. It’s all very efficient, though I miss looking at the produce myself, and deciding that something not on my list looks pretty good. I miss puttering. I also miss just going out the door to run a couple of errands without major preparations and logistics. Still, it’s fine.

I just took Abby out for a turn around the yard. A second group of rhododendrons is blooming now, a dark blue-purple. It’s lovely, with blue wood hyacinths and still some myrtle blooming underneath it. The oaks and beeches in our woods are all leafed out, that bright chartreuse, still with plenty of spaces for the blue sky to show through.

Iris are just starting in the perennial garden. Chives are in flower, and I just bought some new sage and veronica plants, dark blue flowering ‘May Night’ and ‘Caradonna,’ a lovely pale lavender blue called ‘Perfect Profusion,’ and one called ‘Lavender Lightsaber.’ I love tall spikes of blooms like that, and the colors look beautiful with the hosta leaves nearby. I also love plants that self-seed and appear in surprising places and colors, like the columbines that seem to have filled just the spaces where I needed them, and mostly in that range of blues and purples that complement what is already there.

Wish I could rouse myself to go out and paint some of those garden combinations, à la Lois Dodd or Jane Freilicher. There seems to be so much else that fills the days that I feel lucky to walk outside and take the time to even look at the gardens. Thankfully, I have a puppy.

It’s been quite a social week, relatively speaking. Besides going shopping in North Tisbury, I attended my first bar mitzvah on Zoom this past Saturday morning. Funny, since under normal circumstances I could have just walked through the woods to the Salops’ house, although under normal circumstances, we would all have been at the Hebrew Center.

Joshua Salop, son of Alex and Kate, led the Saturday morning service with Rabbi Broitman, then read his Torah portion and gave a scholarly interpretation of it, and led a discussion with the whole congregation. It felt very personal and very special to see Alex, Kate, Josh, and his sister Rachel all in their living room, still sharing a ritual as old as time. And all of us gathered to witness it. There were members of the Salops’ former congregation in Connecticut, and Josh’s aunt and uncle, Lynn and John Dingfelder, all the way from Florida. Congratulations, Josh, you did a great job.

On Sunday, Mike and I had company. Ted Murphy, Ann DuCharme, and their son Teddy stopped by to visit us, play with Abby, and bring a precious gift, a jug of maple syrup from Vermont. We all stayed outside at a distance from one another, except for Abby. After a bit of excited jumping, she settled down and surprised me by being a perfectly well-behaved puppy, going from one guest to another, sitting politely in front of them, and waiting to be petted. I have worried that with the pandemic, she wasn’t getting enough exposure to other people and other situations. Nice to find out that her training must have somehow gotten into her brain for when she would need it.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.