West Tisbury: The thirst of the land

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— Kyra Steck

Despite remaining gray for most of the day last Monday, our rainfall amounted to barely a drop-and-a-half. I went out the next morning and dug my hand into the soil; it was still dusty and dry. We are definitely in a drought.

I have wondered if this might be the true hell we may be consigned to after death, if there is such a place. One arrives, ferried across the Styx, to a beautiful, lush, green garden. “This isn’t so bad,” you think. Then the landscape changes, day after day, slowly dying in front of your eyes with no possible relief. It’s hot. There is no rain. There is no water, so you cannot help the plants that are shriveling and browning before your eyes. It continues through eternity. Somehow new residents arrive at the beautiful garden but, as are one and all, they are doomed to watch helplessly as everything dies, including the spirits of the damned.

Thankfully, we can water as long as we are alive and our wells stay full of water. It is still never as good as a naturally soaking rain. I want to scream whenever I see weather forecasts of rain everywhere but here. It seems unfair to have terrible floods in one place and nothing in another.

The sunny days have been nice for dog walks, though. Mike and I have been surprised at how quickly the opening at Quansoo has filled in. It seems like it was just cut through maybe three weeks ago. There has been so much to see. There has been one egret in the shallow tidal pond all summer, but lately he has been joined by a second one. They are splendid. Watching them take off with wings broadly spread is a thrill. Pink mallows are blooming and the beach is full of crab and oyster shells. I pick up some perfect ones to arrange on our kitchen counters and windowsills when we get home, a science and art lesson for Iyla.

Friday, August 12, is the annual picnic at the Up-Island Council on Aging. Food and festivities begin at noon.

Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard will hold its August meeting on Saturday, August 13, at 9:30. Guests will be the two Democratic candidates for Dukes County sheriff, Bob Ogden and Erik Blake. The meeting will be on Zoom. Email democratsmv@gmail.com for the link if you aren’t on their membership list.

Sunday, August 14, will be the final pop-up book sale at the library for this summer. The Friends of the West Tisbury Free Public Library have braved the heat since the beginning of July to set out books for all to peruse and buy. It has been on a smaller scale than the customarily filled school gym, but no less valued by book lovers. Books will be sold by the bag this Sunday, and we are asked to bring our own bags. Here is the price scale: $15/paper shopping bag; $20/recyclable shopping bag; $25/boat bag; $30/Ikea bag. Thanks to the Friends for their stalwart support for our library, and for everyone on the Island who came, and bought, and donated.

Please note that the Farmers’ Market will be moving to the Grange during the Ag Fair. Next Wednesday, August 17, and Saturday, August 20, are the dates.

Hard to believe the Fair will begin a week from this Thursday. Don’t forget to get your entries ready and deliver them on time. All the information is in the booklet or online.
Stay cool and keep watering.

I just came downstairs and saw the sad news that David McCullough died, so I went online to read his obituary on the Washington Post website. It was lengthy and laudatory, what one would expect for such a remarkable man. His achievements were many, notable over a long career. For those of us who live in West Tisbury, though, he was a neighbor who walked along Music Street, who greeted us at the library, who lived with Rosalie and their children a regular West Tisbury life, who spoke when asked to support the Island we shared and loved. My sincerest condolences to his family and to his lifelong friends.

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