West Tisbury: Looking to the future


If there is a more spectacular garden combination than orange Oriental poppies and dark purple Siberian iris, I don’t know what it is. That is what I am looking out at in my kitchen garden. I always leave some white-flowered matricaria that self-sows, somehow in all the right places, and have a froth of lavender-blue catmint around the edges. This is it, the highlight of this garden, with my last rhododendrons blooming across the back border of our property. Some daylilies come out next, if deer don’t get to them first, and then everything turns leafy green for the rest of the summer. I put in some dahlias and other annuals this year, hoping to bridge the gap from July to October, but mine is really a spring garden.

Last Saturday I watched my second Zoom bar mitzvah. Kyle Levy, son of Josh and Prudence Levy, read his Torah portion, Naso from the Book of Numbers, and led a discussion with the congregation. As Naso dealt in part with inherited traditions and responsibilities, Kyle spoke about what he inherited from his family, Athearns and Galleys on his mother’s side, with a long Island history from the 1600s, and Levys and Strongins in New York on his father’s side, who have given him a foundation of family and Judaism. His commitment to justice and leadership from both sides of his family has led him to work with the Young Center, an advocacy group for unaccompanied immigrant children. An inspiring interpretation, thoughtful, and very relevant to the historical moment we are in. A paean to Zoom for allowing people from near and far to attend and be part of this special day, even during a pandemic.

Mike and I spent part of Sunday afternoon in his truck with lights flashing and the horn honking, waving out our windows at the graduating class of 2020 and their families along Beach Road. I have said to kids I know well that despite the differences, this is a graduation that will be memorable, their very own. It was quite a joyous group. Fire and police vehicles from every Island town led the parade, lots of lights, sirens, and good spirits. Arrayed in groups along the road, standing on the bike path, or atop cars and trucks, the graduating class waved back at passing well-wishers. Some wore their caps and gowns. Some were in shorts and T shirts. It was a festive scene, so unique, and so filled with love and admiration for these graduating seniors who will be heading off into an uncertain future. Fortunately, they are the most resilient, committed, and thoughtful young people, and I have great hope for all of us as they assume the leadership of our world.

More things are beginning to open up in town as we enter phase two of Gov. Baker’s plan. The Farmers Market will move to the Ag Hall, but it will still be the Farmers Market, and will open at 9 am this Saturday, June 13. The library will start curbside, contactless service on June 15. We won’t be inside browsing the shelves, but it will still be our library, and we will be able to take out books again. We are learning how to order from Ghost Island and North Tisbury Market online and pick up our groceries, so we will learn this new way to use the library.

Many of you may remember when Sam Bryant and Gwen Ruelle debuted their game, Fire Tower. They are already reprinting the original Fire Tower, as well as a new, expanded version called Rising Flames, which will offer firehawks, new action cards, events, variants of play, and more deluxe options. I didn’t know that firehawks are real birds that carry burning branches from wildfires and set small fires to flush out prey, one of the real phenomena and fire terms that adds to the authenticity of the game. Sam and Gwen had been traveling to board game conventions before COVID-19 canceled such gatherings. On a positive note, the coronavirus has made board games more popular and in demand, as people are spending time at home. Here is their website: runawayparade.squarespace.com/rising-flames.

The Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard will hold a Zoom meeting this Saturday, June 13, at 9:30 am. State Representative Dylan Fernandes and State Senator Julian Cyr are expected to attend to discuss voting and law enforcement issues. Margaret Emerson and Carla Cooper will provide an overview of legislation to make voting easier, safer, and more accessible.

As to the above, a reminder from town clerk Tara Whiting-Wells that applications for early and absentee ballots are available in the lobby at town hall and online:

westtisbury-ma.gov/town-clerk. This is for our town election on June 25. The annual town meeting will be held at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs on June 23. If you need transportation, call Jen Rand at 508-696-0102 by June 17 to sign up.

Town treasurer Kathy Logue wants to remind everyone that the interest moratorium on fourth- quarter town tax bills will expire on June 29. On June 30, interest will be charged on unpaid bills, going back to their respective due dates. This includes fourth-quarter real estate taxes due on June 1, this year’s personal property tax bills, and motor vehicle excise tax bills, originally due March 13. Real estate tax bills were sent out last January, and the other were bills sent in February. Don’t plan to mail your payments on the 28th or 29th, as they won’t arrive in time.

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