New England Lament
No, we do not have fifty names for snow,
but something widens and stretches the
we use to describe all forms of it: flakes,
beginning flurries, cumbrous clouds to an-
the arrival, snow piles, cover of white on
meadows, cities, bridges. Today, we check
the radar again, promises of the light light
substance—but no snow—still no snow.
This poem is by Fan Ogilvie, former West Tisbury poet laureate, and longtime member of Cleaveland House Poets. I was looking for a winter poem to start my column this week and found Fan’s in “In the Company of Poets, Cleveland House Poets, Anthology 2021.” It was just right. Our big snowstorm has already melted and faded from memory, leaving a muddy, wet mess in our yard, probably in yours, too.
Abby LOVED the snow, happy to spend as much of the day as she could outside. She belly-flopped into it, tunneled nose deep into a drift that, with a toss of that nose, flew up into the air. Then onto her back to roll around with her paws flailing until she leapt up to run around and around the yard at top speed. Unfortunately, she seems just as happy with the mud. Her friend, Tater, came to play on Sunday afternoon; after half an hour or so, we had two muddy, brown dogs. Happy, tired, but filthy. Bath night.
I was so sorry to hear that Sheila Jason passed away last week. My condolences to Lenny and their family and their lifetime of Island friends.
There is still time to take out nomination papers if you are interested in running for a position on a town board. There are open seats for one one-year term on the select board, and regular terms on the board of assessors and planning board. Of course, you can run for any contest in town. Papers are available at town hall. You will need at least 20 West Tisbury voters’ signatures, although town clerk Tara Whiting-Wells recommends at least 25. They are due back to Tara by Feb. 24 at 5 pm.
Martha’s Vineyard Democrats will hold their monthly meeting Saturday morning, 9:30 to 11 am, on Zoom. There will be two speakers, State Senator Eric Lesser, who is running for Lieutenant Governor, and State Representative Dylan Fernandes. Both will take questions. Also on the agenda, a report on caucuses to elect delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Worcester in June. West Tisbury’s virtual caucus is Feb. 28 at 11 am. Email email@example.com. The agenda noted the need for monetary donations to Houses of Grace and the Food Pantry.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary will hold a Safe Boating Class on Saturday, March 12, 9 am to 5 pm, at the Public Safety Building. The course will cover an introduction to boating, boating law, safety equipment, safe operations and navigation, boating emergencies, trailering, and sports involving boating. Attendance is limited to 15 people. Cost is $50/person, $30 for additional family members. Participants must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask during the program, which will also be on Zoom. For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you are looking for something to do, check out the offerings at the West Tisbury library. Besides the weekly art and exercise classes, there are several other events. Dee Leopold will lead an online book discussion of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” during February and March. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will meet Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings at 5 pm. Dave Kish will resume his music-themed documentary film and discussion this Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 pm, about Latin boogaloo, “a colorful expression of Latin soul.” The program will be held at the library. No need to sign up. Ed Shulman is February’s artist of the month. He will be at a reception in the community room on Monday, Feb. 14, from 4 to 5:30 pm.
That evening, at 7 pm, Niki Patton will lead a virtual Writers Read. Email her at email@example.com to join the Zoom.
I found big buds on the hellebore outside my dining room door on the south side of our house. It looks healthy and gorgeous, unlike the ratty specimen around the corner in a shadier part of the yard. That one is under the weight of unmelted snow and ice. All I can see of it is a few leaves sticking out. It’s interesting to see differences in microclimates within our yard, even within our neighborhood. I remember my in-laws next door having a late frost while our yard was just fine.
Monday is Valentine’s Day. Be sure to tell someone that you love them.