West Tisbury: I can see the sky

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— Kyra Steck

I can see the sky! After all the storms and wind, enough of the leaves have fallen that there are clear patches of sky above our yard and through our woods, enough to see colorful sunrises and sunsets. It’s one of the many highlights of late fall and winter. The sun is lower in the sky, too, shining through whatever leaves remain, giving the appearance of sparkling jewels. It always makes me think of the fairytale about dancing princesses who sneak out from their castle at night on a path lined with magic trees that sparkle, one night with gold, another with silver, another with diamonds, and so on. Mine still look like rubies and topaz. Diamonds will come later, after snow and frosts.

We did finally have a frost that killed the last pots of impatiens and basil, and the fragrant pineapple sage with its lovely red spikes still blooming.

There is another death to mourn on our Island. June Manning died last Monday. It’s hard to imagine the Island without her. She was so much a part of everything. She was an encyclopedia of Island and tribal history, a member of more organizations and committees than I can list, a ball of energy passing from one activity to the next. She knew everybody. She always had, or made, time to stop for a visit, more likely to want to know how you were than to talk about herself. I treasure the afternoons she dropped by Alley’s porch at coffee time. She was always welcome. Condolences to all who will miss her. 

Condolences, too, to the Karasik/Winsryg family for the passing of Paul’s mother, Joan Karasik.

There was a rather daunting article in the New York Times’ science section last Tuesday. The title, “Coronavirus Infections Are Found in Iowa Deer,” pretty much says it all. You can read it online or in the newspaper itself at the library. 

A study by Penn State University and wildlife officials in Iowa found active Coronavirus infections in 80 percent of white-tailed deer sampled between April 2020 and January 2021. They believe the deer were infected by humans. The concern is whether or not the virus could then reinfect humans or if it could mutate and pass the mutation along to their herd, humans, and other animals. 

The article did say that eating venison was safe as long as it was cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. I don’t know if any similar studies have been done in Massachusetts, but it wouldn’t hurt to be careful. It appears as though this virus may be with us in ways no one had imagined and for a longer time.

On a brighter note, Happy Birthday wishes to Matt Merry, who will turn 50 on Nov. 22.

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to Tara and Stephen Larsen, who planned their celebrations to last through much of the month.

Thanksgiving is next Thursday. I know most everyone in town is making plans for dinners with family and friends, or maybe a quiet day off at home by themselves. The MV Times will be closed, so there is an early deadline for my column, by the weekend, if possible. I would like to write it on Friday so I can take the weekend off.

Linda Alley announced that Island Made Holidays at Heather Gardens is opening this Friday, Nov. 19. Fifteen Island artisans will display their wares and share sitting-the-store duties every day from 10 am to 5 pm through Christmas Eve, excepting Thanksgiving Day. Among the offerings are holiday plants and wreaths from Heather Gardens, Linda’s New Lane Sundries jams, Simple Joy Herbals, Chris MacCleod’s wooden bowls, Major Knight’s silk scarves, books by several Island authors, Lynn Christophers’ cat calendars for 2022, and lots more.

The Edgartown Council on Aging sent a notice about a free online training class to become a home health aide. It’s called PHCAST, Person & Home Care Aide State Training. We all know someone, or many someones, who want to remain in their own homes as they get older and need some help to do so. If you are interested, look at mass.gov/PHCAST for more information. The class will take approximately 34 hours to complete.

We always have our Thanksgiving dinner around 6 o’clock. It gives everyone the whole day for beach walks or whatever else they would like to do before gathering for our meal. It also gives the host or hostess a leisurely day to make stuffing, cook the turkey, chill the wine, make extra ice cubes, watch the Macy’s parade, get tables and extra chairs inside and arranged, set the tables, make the gravy, do whatever other chores need doing. Did I say “a leisurely day?”

My corn pudding recipe will make its annual appearance in next week’s early column.