West Tisbury: In touch with nature


Rain over the weekend brought relief to parched gardens and hose-weary gardeners. It has also washed away the pollen that has coated everything in a yellow pall. The humidity has diminished. Life under a cool, gray sky feels pleasantly quiet for the moment. One isn’t required to do anything on rainy days.

Roses and daylilies offer some color besides green to our landscape. Now that it’s cooler, I plan to get outside to dig out most of the phlox I purge every few years. It always comes back, but for a time I find new empty spaces, and feel that I have aired out my garden.

I was outside with Abby early one morning when I heard a great rustle in the woods behind our house, and saw the biggest red-tail hawk ever. It perched in a tree for a few moments before flying off in a display of broad wings and bright feathers. Usually they rush through the open part of the yard to pick up a mouse or small bird, but this one alighted on a thick branch and stayed as though dropping by for a visit, just to observe and to be sure it was itself observed.

When a friend visited later in the day, I told her about the hawk. Her mother had been a dear friend who admired and loved red-tails above all other birds. Whenever we saw one, she would say, “There goes my hawk.” I felt that this hawk was indeed special, my friend coming to the place her daughter would be in a few hours.

My husband would say I was indulging in strange fantasies. I will admit that my story sounds fantastical, imaginary, anthropomorphic, but I am willing to accept that unexplainable occurrences and feelings can happen.

George and Joan Thomas have arrived, and are settling in next door. I am always happy to know they are here, and we are hoping to have a walk sometime later in the week, so their dog, Maggie May, can meet Abby. We humans will all be wearing our masks and walking at a distance.

The Thomases are bursting with pride at the announcement from Northfield Mount Hermon that their grandson, Henry Wells, class of 2020, has made dean’s list this spring. Henry is a frequent summer visitor to the Vineyard with his mother, Katherine, for time with the grandparents and the beach. Congratulations, Henry.

When I first arrived on the Vineyard, I lived on Chappaquiddick in Dorothy Knight’s Blueberry Cottage, and met her wonderful family. Dick and Darryl lived next door. Margaret Knight and Sidney Morris lived nearby. They all were more welcoming and kind to this newcomer than I could have imagined. Since I have been living up-Island for all these years, seeing any of them was an infrequent pleasure.

My memories of Dick are mostly of the young man he was, a husband, a father with two babies, a carpenter of great skill, hale and strong. I was so sorry to hear that he had died suddenly at home this past week. He was only 73. My condolences to Darryl and to their family.

Now that the library has its own place in the Times, I will not regularly list all the programs, maybe just a few special ones. Most noteworthy this week is that the library will be closed on Saturday to celebrate the Fourth of July, and the Summer Reading Program has begun. You can sign up at westtisburylibrary.org/summer-reading-programs/.

This Friday, July 3, a four-week series of Home Recording Classes for Beginners will meet at 6 pm through the library. Sign up at wt_mail@clamsnet.org. Children’s librarian Mikaela Lawson will host a fairytale storytime on Monday, July 6. Email mlawson@clamsnet.org. On Tuesday, you can pick up craft kits for kids between 11 am and 4 pm. Call from the library parking lot, and a librarian will bring out your bag of supplies. At 4 pm, Bruce MacNelly will present “The Most Beautiful Room in the World.” I have already signed up to find out what it could possibly be. Email wt_mail@clamsnet.org for your Zoom invitation.

It’s been a quiet morning here, as I have been writing and Mike was doing something out in his workshop. Abby has been stretched out on the sofa by my feet. The upstairs cats have been sleeping in their respective bedrooms. Nelson has been on the porch, sleeping on his cushion on a chair pushed under the table. When I walk outside, he might acknowledge me with a flick of his tail from underneath the tablecloth, all he shows the world of himself this time of year.

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