West Tisbury: The sun is finally out

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— Kyra Steck

The sun is finally out after a long week of gray, gloomy, drizzly days. It’s in the 50s and expected to remain so through the holiday weekend, dropping back to more seasonal 20s and 30s next week. 

This week, by the time you are reading this column. Try to remember that I have to write and send my columns in a week before the paper comes out, so I am always straddling the lines between past, present, and future.

It’s a little eerie writing Jan. 6 at the top of this column. I don’t know what to expect, if anything. Mike and I were talking about it over our coffee this morning. “What was the biggest thing you remember about 2021?” I asked him. “COVID,” was his answer. Mine was on Jan. 6. It was something so totally unimaginable and unexpected, yet there it was. 

Back to West Tisbury, it was a quiet weekend after a quiet week. The overcast skies and between-holidays hiatus seemed to invite a break from the daunting pace of things to accomplish before Christmas.

The Great Pond opening was cut, leaving a wide-ish beach to walk across. For anyone who thinks there is no color and nothing to look at in the winter, it couldn’t have been more beautiful, and worthy of much appreciation. The misty humidity made the landscape arrange itself into broad swaths of maroon, orange, and gold, edges softened as behind a scrim curtain. That same moisture intensified those colors, an effect similar to putting stones or sea shells into a jar of water. How can a landscape appear intensified and obscured at the same time?

Then for those few sunny hours on New Year’s Eve morning, edges sharpened. Light picks out details. Our leaf-bare woods and the trees along the border between the Ag Hall field and the Polly Hill Arboretum offered the same effect. The sky color seemed softer, almost opalescent, as it delineated the spaces between trees and branches and twigs. 

As I continue writing this column on Monday morning, my husband has read today’s weather report, and promised me snow by this afternoon. It feels cold enough. I couldn’t ask for a better weather report. I borrowed John Hough’s new novel, “The Sweetest Days,” from the library last week. I can’t put it down and am about halfway through, so look forward to making a cup of tea and finishing my book this afternoon, intermittently watching snow fall outside my window. It’s one of the rewards of being semi-retired; I could easily spend the rest of my life reading book after book of my choice.

The gift of reading is one that never grows old. It has been my companion and savior through the best and worst of times. I was reminded of that when looking through yesterday’s New York Times Book Review to find a story in comics format written by Paul Karasik called “Reading to Mom; How the books we read as children can comfort us at the end.” Paul cared for his mother, Joan, through the past summer, before she died. It’s a common experience for anyone who has cared for someone who is dying, to read special stories and poems. He was reading “Charlotte’s Web,” a book she had loved and, in turn, read to Paul, who loved it, too. Books bring us together.

When my father-in-law was dying, he reread or had read to him, every one of Robert B. Parker’s books. I have read aloud to everyone I have cared for, running the gamut from Charles Dickens’ lengthy novels to Mary Oliver’s poems. I wonder which books Mike or I will choose? I wonder who will read to us? I can’t imagine not being able to read and have learned to appreciate well-narrated audiobooks, just in case.

M.V. Democrats will meet on Zoom this Saturday morning, Jan. 8, from 9:30 to 11 am. On the agenda is a discussion of the group’s 2022 priority to expand the number of active members, a visit from State Senator Julian Cyr, and a presentation of the recently released report of the Legislative Reform Working Group of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts.

West Tisbury Town Clerk Tara Whiting-Wells has nomination papers for our annual town election available at her office in Town Hall. Candidates or their designees, with written permission, may pick them up between 7:30 am and 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. There are current vacancies on the select board, board of assessors, and planning board, though anyone may run for any position that is up in 2022. Nomination papers are due back by Feb. 24.

I have been watching the progress of my snowdrops as they push through the earth. Much excitement seeing their pale green tips.