Chilmark: Susan Markwica, Leo the dog, knitting, collage, music, and Potluck Jam

—MV Times

What a week it’s been. The super-cold, windy weather was followed by almost record highs and glorious blue skies, and then more rain.

Prayers, please, for my 97-year-old father, Robert Ganz, and our family. He is in MGH, and we are planning and preparing for his return. Aging and caregiving are easier with patience, love, and kindness.

Last week Susan Markwica of Edgartown died. She was brave, wise, and generous. My heart goes out to her beloved daughter, Anna Markwica Owen, and Anna’s husband, Dominic Owen. I sit torn between relief that you are no longer in pain and shattered by the loss of your physical presence. I worry that treasured memories will fade — the sound of your laughter, your quiet voice relaying stories infused with deep wisdom, the kind that comes after years of living and learning, succeeding and erring, considering, experimenting, caring, and loving. You were the kind of friend who, when life feels like a destructive hurricane, reminded me to take gentleness breaks and consider what’s going to nurture me the most, and encouraged me to do it. You were the kind of friend who could walk into my house without knocking, and I was unreservedly delighted even if I was still in my PJs, or there were dishes still to be done sitting in the sink. You were the kind of friend who reminded me that the winds of grace are always blowing, and encouraged me to raise my sails and set my course. You were the kind of friend who repeatedly showed up with kindness, patience, gentleness, humor, love, and respect. You were the kind of friend who bluntly told me the truth as you saw it. You were the kind of friend who called bullwompy when you saw it. The kind of friend who accepted me as I am today, and encouraged me to drop fears and practice being who I am meant to be. The kind of friend whose unconditional love, patience, and generosity freed me to silence an inner critic, notice my bad habits and accept that for me, breaking them is a process. You helped me unlock chains of fear and embrace living, laughing, and loving. I will love you forever, look for you in the stars, and endeavor to be the kind of friend to others that you were to me.

Miracles happen. I know we are all relieved that Leo, the 16-pound valiant, adorable, feisty, independent dog with the abundantly fluffy tail survived the bitter cold and is home!! Ty Sinnett posted this heartwarming update on Islander’s Talk: “Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t responded to any messages yet — Leo and I slept for ages. Well, I slept, and Leo woke me up at 4 to go pee, and attempted to take me on a hunting mission. After eight days with no sightings, Leo was spotted by Charlie Sennott around 1 pm. I had arrived back to the Island in the morning, and immediately started looking around Flanders Field, based on map dowsing. Incidentally the doswer pointed me toward Charlie and Julie’s house, but I couldn’t find a way to pass through the cow fields. So my dad and I decided to break for lunch, and planned to scout the bottom of Tabor House and Middle Road. I got a call from Julie Sennott saying Charlie had just seen him in the neighbor’s yard. We went straight there. Julie had been cooking a pork chop, and immediately took it out to the area, scattering pieces around the yard before backing away back to her house. When we got there, we walked around for about an hour, scouting Tree Frog Lane and up in the thicket toward the bottom of the cow pastures. We were quiet and didn’t call out in order to not scare him, but didn’t have any additional sightings, so we took a break to finally eat, and had sandwiches on the porch — hoping that he would smell the food and hear my voice. Dad, Charlie, and myself then walked back toward the yard where Charlie had last seen him. And we were discussing what the next best plan was when Charlie said, “There he is,” and Leo was just sitting there just outside of the thicket — looking completely fine, freakishly clean — it was like he appeared out of thin air. My dad and Charlie backed away silently and I sat on the ground with my hand out quietly talking to him. He approached cautiously, and when he realized it was me, hopped into my lap and proceeded to lick my face like I was the one who had been lost in the woods for two weeks. I immediately took him home, where he promptly had some smoked salmon, followed by scrambled eggs, and then organic beef and broccoli. Other than shorter tail feathers and a small self-shaved spot on his front left ankle (nervous habit), Leo is completely fine, and has left the woods with nothing more than much deeper passion for hunting and chasing things. We went over to Dave and Gogo Ferguson’s, where he sat on the sofa and licked Gogo’s hands like it was just another day, and ate some cheese. The hugest heartfelt thank you to EVERYONE who helped search, reposted, and prayed for my little guy — we love you all! I’m so incredibly grateful to call this community home. We will do a little party for Leo in the near future after we catch up on some rest. Will keep everyone posted.”

Thinking of knitting again? Call and make an appointment with Rebecca at Native Earth Teaching Farm, 508-645-3304.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, 10:30–12:30 pm, the fabulous Emily Davis is hosting another one of her remarkable Collage Workshops, which is more than just art. I encourage you to sign up — 508-645-9098.

Music continues in Chilmark this weekend.

Music at Pathways, Friday, Feb. 17, 7 to 9 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Alex Karalekas, Faul Durand, Maruse Smith Band with Stu Rodegast, Adam Howell Band: Adam Howell, Anthony Esposito, Stu Rodegast, Al Horowitz, Nod Maxer, Hanna Sparrow.

Saturday night, Feb. 18, Alex Karelekas brings us another Potluck Jam, 6 to 10 pm at the Chilmark Community Center — Note: A hand is always welcome during setup and takedown.
The Chilmark Community Church hosts special musical guests.

Sunday, Feb. 19, 9–10 am, special guests will be MVRHS musician Kestutis Biskis (of the Missis Biskis family). He plays guitar and piano.

Sunday, Feb. 26, 9–10 am, features organist Phil Dietterich. Many of you may remember his wonderful playing for our Christmas Eve and Offering of Music and Light services in December.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,