Aquinnah: View from the sky, Earth Day activities, special town meeting, and birthdays

— MV Times

Charley and I have grandchildren scattered across the globe (two who move back and forth from Portugal to Switzerland, two in San Francisco, and the two here on-Island). It’s hard to not have them all within hugging distance, so last week I flew west to see the West Coast family. The travel day was long, beginning with the drive to the ferry, then the ferry ride, then the bus trip to Logan, where I finally boarded an Alaska Air flight to San Francisco. The time on-plane was long — 6.5 hours in the air, and almost an hour sitting on the tarmac waiting for the tower to give permission to our pilots to take off. As is usually the case for me, once in the air we had enough turbulence to keep the stewards buckled into their seats for a long time, unable to serve. I comforted myself by looking out the window. We went from the tree-covered Northeast, to the patchwork quilt of farms in the Midwest. There were long rivers and big lakes to see, and, as night came on, clusters of lights indicating towns and cities. As we flew over the Rockies and then the Sierras, it was full-on night, and the huge mountains gave off an almost ghostly glow of light on snow. Breathtaking. Our country is so beautiful, and the flight reminded me again about how glorious this planet is, with its colors and waters and mountains and plains and deserts. And being up in the sky, looking down at our little blue orb that spins so slowly in the cosmos, was a powerful reminder of how precious this all is.

Which brings me to Earth Day, which is this Saturday, April 22. You can celebrate our lovely planet in many ways. On Friday, April 21, at 10:30 am, you can learn the basics of setting up a backyard compost system. (Help to preserve and protect your soil!) Class will be held at a private residence in Oak Bluffs, and registration is required (email or call 508-693-9433 to register). And on the 22nd, the Vineyard Conservation Society hosts a beach cleanup day — pick your favorite beach and lend a hand. Volunteers will be available at Lobsterville, Philbin, and Tribal beaches with gloves and bags. You can then go to a celebration afterparty at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum between noon and 4 for everyone who helped to clean a beach, with more than 15 Island organizations there to celebrate the Earth and show you ways to help. It’s a great family day, and our beach creatures will be grateful.

You can also celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by creating something at a “Fun with Fabric” workshop led by our own town clerk, Gabriella Camilleri. Gabi is a master seamstress, and is ready to help you learn. The workshop will be held at the town hall from 12:30 to 3:30 pm, with all materials provided, including sewing machines. This is sponsored by the Aquinnah library, and you can sign up by contacting

We are lucky to be among those on this Earth who live in a strong community. An important way to participate in this community is to attend town meetings. A special town meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 26, at 7 pm at the town hall. On the docket are the regional school district agreement, the issue of replacing or reconstructing the district high school, amendments to the personnel bylaws adding Juneteenth and Cranberry Day to the list of approved town holidays, and changing the designation of “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples Day,” and two articles regarding zoning bylaws. Come out, speak your mind, listen to your neighbors, and vote. And mark your calendar for the annual town meeting, set for May 9, and the election on May 11.

I want to thank Jamie Vanderhoop for sending me her list of Vanderhoop family birthdates. (I wish I were organized enough to have a spreadsheet with my family birthdays! Good on you, Jamie.) Amazingly, there are no Vanderhoop birthdays to announce for this week ahead, but there are a total of 60 names on that list. Wonderful.

Molly Purves sent me a list of all the kids who live in Aquinnah, an astonishing 128 of them! Unfortunately, birthdates were not included, so I still need your help by sending me those dates if you want them listed here. Write to me at

I have only one birthday to announce, but it’s a goodie: Robin Decker turns 7 on Tuesday, April 25. Robin delights Charley and me by bringing us chicken and duck eggs from the flock his family tends on Lighthouse Road, and by bringing us hand-picked bouquets of flowers and grasses as a way of saying “thank you” to Charley for doing pottery with him. What a great little person he is. Happy birthday, Robin!

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,