West Tisbury: Slowing down, taking notice


White petals covered the lawn beneath a kousa dogwood tree in my backyard, making the ground look like there had been a summer snowfall, leaving the tree itself a tall green sentinel. The flowers had been thick this year. They covered the sweeping branches in long chains that seemed to last for weeks. It always interests me that one year there may be one tree that blooms abundantly while the others have nary a flower. Then there are years when Nature outdoes herself and every tree makes a grand show.

Having Abby, I go out several times a day. Even in the early morning or last outing at night, I am grateful for the slow time to closely observe my yard and surrounding woods. Watching buds form then open gradually over several days, the leaves as they unfolded earlier this past spring, birds, snakes, skunks, and rabbits, fireflies in a star-filled sky, It’s all there for me as I walk beside my canine companion.

This year has gone by so quickly. Abby was a puppy when we brought her home the day after Christmas. She will be a whole year old on August 4. I look at her pictures, but don’t remember her being different than she is now. She is still small, and will always be a small golden, about 60 pounds. Quite a change from Nanuk or Buffett or Jake, who were all closer to 90 pounds each.

Abby had been very quiet for a few days last week, not interested in eating or going for walks, just lying on the sofa like an old dog. Mike made an appointment with Dr. Jasny to have her checked out. After being tested for Lyme and worms and having bloodwork done, home she came, and we awaited the results. There was nothing obviously wrong.

So we both laughed when we saw Dr. Jasny’s column in last week’s Martha’s Vineyard Times. As with the other animals she wrote about, it appears that Abby was just hot. Sometimes that’s all it is.

I have moved my writing workplace upstairs to our bedroom and turned on the air conditioner to keep myself and my puppy cool. She is sleeping on the bed between my spread-out notebook, Oxford English Dictionary, telephone, today’s New York Times, a pencil for the crossword puzzle when I finish this column. My laptop is on my lap. The air conditioner is humming in the window.

I had an email last week from Angela Prout, whom I knew when she worked at the Times. She has started a new business, a mobile haircut and hair styling service called Coast to Coast Cuts. She had dreamed of having an open-air salon, and this seemed a good time to make that dream a reality. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your hair cut outside in your own yard? You can contact Angela at 508-444-2017 or hello@coasttocoastcuts.com. She also has a website with a list of services, prices, and more information: coasttocoastcuts.com.

Town seems busier lately when I venture off my property. I can tell by how long it takes to get out of my driveway. There have been lines of cars coming from both directions. The parking lot at Alley’s and 7a is always full of cars, bicycles, and semi-bare people. I almost never see anyone I know.

I haven’t had a chance to check out the library’s new curbside service. It would be good to read a mindless murder mystery that would capture my attention. Instead, I am spending still too much time watching ever-increasing COVID-19 numbers and projections, and reading nonfiction essays and books about how to recognize and survive autocracy. Thankfully, some art books, too. It can be hard to keep one’s spirits up some days.

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