For the first time in my entire life, I ended the year with calm instead of chaos. Over the years, I would put my head down and lurch from one request to another. I would work late and get up early. There would be enough time. My chores could come last.
Dad says, “Don’t do anything today you can do tomorrow.” Getting through the day without finding ourselves “overcooked” is Mom’s priority. Unplanned changes in the weather and health are regular challenges; they meet then with grace and strength. Dad is 97 and Mom is 82. Freeing up time to account for the unexpected is a priority.
Family comes when they can, mostly in the summer. My husband came from Santa Fe. Our fisherman sons couldn’t get back from Alaska and the Caribbean — they had to work through the holiday.
After the cold snap and lovely Christmas snowstorm, restocking the woodpile near the house before the next rainstorm was necessary. Mornings were spent splitting large rounds of well-seasoned hardwood with a wedge and maul, using the splitter on the smaller pieces. Early afternoons are spent helping my father with his writing.
My cousin, Grace Hotchkiss Scarano, drove up from Maryland (an eight-hour or so drive) for a three-day visit in Vineyard Haven to ring in the New Year with her sister, Emily, and family, and their father, Frederick. Since it is an hour round trip of driving for her to visit us in Chilmark, I texted her a welcome, expecting we would come down to meet her.
“Hi Claire! Thank you for that warm welcoming. I arrived on the last ferry tonight, and would love to see you tomorrow! I am up for anything with you, dear one,” was her reply.
I picked up the phone and asked her if she would be up for visiting while I did chores? Dad is eager to continue their conversation started last summer about math, science, and the imagination.
“I’d love to,” was her reply.
Grace took over the maul. My husband moved wood and ran the splitter. I scored the rounds and stacked the logs. Next Grace and Dad visited while I organized the desk and references for the BB&N class of ’43 report, due this week. We ended with a sauna and shower at the gym. Thank you, Grace, for dropping into our world with joy.
Saturday, Jan. 7, is the Chilmark Potluck Jam, Chilmark Community Center, 520 South Road, from 5 to 10 pm. Bring a dish to pass, and/or a donation to help out.
Heather Goff and Bill O’Callahan of Island Folk Pottery have closed their trail for winter maintenance. It will reopen on Easter Weekend. Studio visits are available by appointment: 508-955-9944.
After a lively welcome to the New Year, Native Earth Teaching Farm is taking a break.
Menemsha Fish Market is closed for the next few weeks. We wish Stanley Larsen, and his wife, Lanette, and their staff a rejuvenating break.
A Chilmark Public Library card gives you access to the digital edition of the New York Times and Washington Post. I love our library.
The library’s Big Book Sale is now free and/or a donation to the food pantry; and Saturdays, Jan. 7 and 28, 1 pm: Writing for Young People.
The Chilmark Community Church’s winter season free Tuesday night suppers at 5:30 pm have returned. Enjoy a delicious meal and stay for a game. My favorite is Bananagrams. 9 Menemsha Crossroads.
Pathways Arts at the Chilmark Tavern, 9 State Road: Jan. 10, 7 to 9 pm, features Meg Pokrass and Jeff Friedman reading from their co-authored book, “The House of Grana Padano,” and talking about collaborative writing. Local writer Warren Woessner a Cleaveland House poet, will read from his poetry collection, “Exit Sky.”
M.V. Yoga Barn is offering winter unlimited passes. Details are on the website.
The Chilmark Community Center is looking for a year-round, part-time administrator. Check out the website for a full job description: chilmarkcommunitycenter.org.