West Tisbury: Marching to the sea

—MV Times

The view outside our windows changed last week, as the oak leaves appeared. Colors changed, too, from pink buds to a fleeting mixture of pink/yellow/green that will soon give way to the heavy, dark, dusty green of summer. Bits of blue made a still-visible contrast where it showed through those colorful leaves before they thicken and fatten to block out the sky almost completely. But for that moment, the ephemeral magic of spring held its breath, balanced in space and time, as on the head of a metaphorical pin. If I held my breath, could I have made time stop?

In contrast, the rhododendron hedge is blooming in its second flush. Deeper colors, dark pinks and purples, have replaced the first white flowers of the earliest bushes. A yellow ‘Narcissiflora’ azalea makes a vertical brushmark that reaches toward the sky. White dogwood flowers float above it all.

I did take a moment to sit out there. As any gardener knows, most of our time is spent doing work, not sitting. I watched a hummingbird poking its beak into one after another of the wood hyacinths that carpet a swath of ground beneath the rhodies. Chickadees and nuthatches and a cardinal swept through. Abby barked.

I am waiting for it to rain now, as the sky is gray, and the air heavy. I still haven’t completely gotten back into the habit of watering every day, especially the little plants in six-packs waiting to be planted. Tomatoes and impatiens can go in now. So will seeds of nasturtiums in every color, my favorite summer flower. And beans, pole beans, and rows of bush beans, French filet beans, and Italian Romanos. I suppose they all could have been planted after the last full moon, but I am always suspicious of a late frost till after Memorial Day.

Next weekend will be a busy one. All of the Bessire family will be gathering for a memorial service honoring their matriarch, Louise, who died this past winter. The service will be held at Grace Church in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, June 4, at 11 am, followed by her burial in the West Tisbury Cemetery beside her husband, Henry. So many people knew and loved Louise; there will surely be stories to share.

On Sunday, June 5, the DaRosa family will host a celebration of the life of Dennis DaRosa at the Ag Hall from 3 to 8 pm. It will be a potluck with stories and music and dancing, all the things that Dennis loved best, to be shared with his many friends as he requested. That was Dennis, planning a party right to the end, and gathering everyone around him to share the occasion.

The June meeting of the Neighborhood Convention will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 11 am, at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. Speakers from the Island Food Pantry and Island Grown Initiative will talk about their hopes and plans for the future. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch.

As I am writing my column, schoolchildren in Edgartown, Chilmark, and Vineyard Haven are marching to the sea to throw in bunches of lilacs in honor of veterans from the Vineyard who served in wars since WWII. It is a lovely custom that also honors our relationship to and with the sea that surrounds us.