Aquinnah: MVRHS budget, lighthouse docents, yoga outside, and cleanup for playground

—MV Times

I am one of the majority of voters in Aquinnah who voted against the high school budget. It broke my heart to have to do it. I am a great admirer of Sara Dingledy, and of our new school superintendent. I know that we need a new field, but I voted against the budget because it was the only vehicle offered to me to stand against the efforts of a few to install a plastic field that will leak poison over our Island’s aquifer and make our student athletes sick.

I have watched for years as many of the high school committee members showed their stubborn indifference to the reasoning and pleas of those opposed to this type of field, and who now express “confusion” about what it is that the voters are now demanding. Most of those who voted against the budget, including me, were not protesting the budget; we were trying desperately to protect the water upon which we all depend, and to protect our kids. That’s what this is about. That’s all.

I ask those who don’t see the danger of the installation of this plastic turf to our athletes as well as to our water to sit down and objectively look at the facts. Our vote was an example of we, the people, telling our leaders to straighten up. We are telling you that you are not to poison our water or our kids. It is time for you, the high school committee, to stop wasting your time and our money, and put your energies into educating our kids instead.

Meanwhile, here on the homestead, the garden is wonderful. Plants are growing and stretching and blooming. The pea shoots are big enough to be moved from their seedling pots into the ground. The familiar trails of sand and dirt from our boots cover the porch as we trek back and forth. Isaac has mowed three times already. Seems like summer is upon us.

If you are a friendly and good-natured Aquinnah youth who has some extra time this summer, sign on to become a member of the Gay Head Light team of docents for the summer season. You will greet visitors to the lighthouse and help them to know about our lighthouse. If you’re interested, please contact Deborah Medders at 508-693-1039 or 508-645-2300.

In your quest for wellness (When did the word “wellness” become a replacement for “health”?), come to the Aquinnah library deck on Saturday, May 20, from 11 am to noon, and relax with an hour of movement, breathwork, and meditation with Kripalu-certified Ayurvedic health counselor Sonja Josephson. They ask that you bring your own yoga mat if you have one.

On Sunday, May 21, from 9 am to 2 pm behind Aquinnah Town Hall, the Aquinnah parks and recreation committee invites you to put on your close-toed shoes and tick repellant and help get ready for our new playground. They are hosting biochar educator Maggie Craig, who will teach you about careful burning of woody materials in a special kiln that produces a kind of charcoal that boosts soil health, while you help clear the land. Bring your clippers, gloves, and tarps if you have them. They will serve snacks and drinks.

The Steamship Authority has a new website and mobile app. They will be at Howes House (Up-Island Council on Aging), May 22, from 1 to 3 pm, to show you how they work. Bring your own mobile phone or laptop to follow along, or you can watch on the screen for a live demonstration.

There was a great gathering of grandmothers and friends on a beautiful Saturday afternoon last week. The occasion was a baby shower for Whitney Swolinsky and Walker Ryan, who are expecting a baby next month. Those gathered had been friends for decades, and a support team for Whitney and her mom, Wendy Swolinsky, for Whitney’s whole life. Photos of Whitney as she grew were presented, right along with carefully chosen gifts and a beautifully decorated cake. The laughter and love and comfort that come from longtime friendship were ever-present. Those best known to me (definitely a newcomer) included Mallory Butler, Jeanne Taylor, Robin Robinson, Robin Smith, Nancy Benoit, and Barbara Bassett. I was grateful to be included. Congratulations to Whitney and Walker!

Mallory had just returned after a week in Aspen and Moab visiting her daughter, Jeffie Butler, Jeffie’s husband, Kevin Sheehan, and the grandchildren, Maeve and Orrin. She said it was gorgeous and sunny everywhere she went, and described it as “not a rest cure, but a heart cure for sure.” Mallory has been a pillar of this community for years, and I’m so glad she got to have that goodness.

Birthday greetings to Lily Melyawati and her wonderful daughter Putu Crowell, who share a birthday on May 25; to Janis Vogel, who also celebrates on May 25; and on May 26 to Marcia Shufrin. I also tip my hat to Eiko Hydeman, whose birthday would have been this week, and whom we haven’t forgotten.

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