West Tisbury: Blooms at Parsonage Pond

— Kyra Steck

The Island feels a bit emptier today, as my dear Giulia Fleishman left on an early boat to head back to rabbinical school on the mainland. Connie Berry wrote a lovely interview with Giulia in last week’s Times, so you will know that she grew up on the Island, and was just visiting. She stayed at a friend’s house in Edgartown, but I knew she was close by, and I loved every minute we spent together. Every single one.

The heat has continued unabated, and looks to remain steamy for all of this week. Someone mentioned September, maybe on the news, and I realized September is only a few weeks off. I dream of temperatures in the 60s and not feeling hot all the time. There is no rain in sight, either. The brown grass crunches underfoot when Abby and I walk around the yard. I don’t water the lawn, just the garden and any newly planted trees or shrubs, but everything looks shriveled again in no time and I just can’t water enough. I know I complain about summer weather every year, but this is my column, after all.

A big event that’s coming on Sept. 1 is our state primary election. The League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard is working very hard to get the word out about registering to vote and actually doing so. Their goal is to enroll 100 percent of the Island’s eligible voters between now and the August 22 deadline to register before the primary, then to encourage all 100 percent of registered voters to actually come out and vote.

If you have any doubts at all about whether you are registered or not, call or email Town Clerk Tara Whiting Wells at 508-696-0148 or townclerk@westtisbury-ma.gov. Tara will be at the Public Safety Building on Saturday, August 22, and Sunday, August 23, from 10 am to noon. Then she will be available there from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm through Friday, August 28, for anyone who wants to vote early. Polls will be open on Sept. 1 from 7 am to 8 pm at the Public Safety Building.

I saw the obituary for Betsy Bayer when I was reading last week’s MV Times, and mentioned it to Mike. “Oh, yes,” he said, “Nick told me awhile ago.” Betsy was one of the dog-walking pals we would run into on our daily walks. She always had beautiful, well-behaved dogs who walked nicely on their leashes. She was quite beautiful, too, in face and spirit, always a pleasure to see. Sadly, she was living off-Island the last few years, but her son, Nick, would let us know how she was doing. I know you will miss her, Nick, and I am so sorry.

Nancy Kingsley’s passing was another loss to the Island. I met Nancy when Bill Ternes used to come to the Island for week-long plein air painting workshops every summer. Nancy was one of his faithful students. She was also very active at Featherstone, exhibiting her own paintings and curating shows. Most notable was the Stan Murphy show a few years ago, which included many of his early paintings, all well-documented, an opportunity to learn more about the breadth of Stan’s work.

Now that Mike is laid up at home after knee surgery, I have had to go out more than usual to run our normal household errands. Sunday afternoon I saw my friend Liz Taft out drawing at one of my favorite painting spots, Parsonage Pond. It is especially beautiful this year. White and pink mallows and tall purple loosestrife are in bloom now in a colorful ring around the pond’s edge. Really more of a marsh these last years, it is usually the pattern of grasses as the water levels change, and the repetition of rounded shrub shapes that attracts me. In August, however, it is these colorful flowers.

Trumpet vine is another August bloomer that makes quite an impact wherever it appears. Take a look at a striking specimen on the trellising around Fella’s. Hydrangeas are at their peak everywhere. Roses, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, dahlias — all are in abundance in the landscape and arranged in vases all through the house.

I had the pleasure of seeing Barbara Courtney and meeting her granddaughter, Nettie, at Grey Barn. They were on a mission to visit the baby cow and the collection of hens on the property. Nettie is an engaging almost 2-year-old. She gave us a running commentary on everything that caught her eye. It was clear to me that she and her grandmother are perfectly sympatico.

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