West Tisbury: Winter solstice, Carl Widdiss tree, and Athearn family

—MV Times

What a week we have had. After the rain last Monday, it’s been warm and sunny through the rest of the week. No need for a coat during the day, although it does feel cold once the sun goes down. People are still easily digging in their gardens, a mixed blessing, but still …

You will be reading this on the shortest day of the year, Dec. 21, the winter solstice. Beginning tomorrow, every day will be 2 minutes longer. Amazing that those few minutes can add up to give us long days, the longest being the summer solstice on the 21st of June.

That said, we could certainly benefit from longer days at this time of year. I always wish that December was two months long. There is so much to do, and I am always lagging behind, feeling overtired, and overwhelmed. My way of dealing with this is counterproductive; I pull up the covers and stay in bed, just ignoring it all. Somehow, it, or as much of it as I can manage, gets done. The worst part is that every year I expect it to be different, that I will start early, do a little every day, be organized. You would think that by age 74 I would have either gotten better organized, shortened my to-do list, or accepted reality. Nope. I just get better at wishful thinking and turning a blind eye. Funny thing is that I really love the holidays.

Pam Glavin called to remind me to mention the tree she puts up at the Aquinnah cemetery every Christmas. It’s in memory of her late husband, Carl Widdiss. Pam asks that people bring an ornament to decorate the tree, symbolizing their promise to do a good deed for someone, as Carl would do if he were still here. It’s a nice thought, and a nice gesture.

Cliff Athearn, the last of the Athearn siblings, died last week at the age of 100. The end of a generation saddens me. Cliff and his brothers, Leonard and Elmer, collectively have overseen West Tisbury life, their farms, and their families, for over a century. That is notable.

This is how far I had gotten with the column before going to bed last night. I’m up early Monday morning to finish writing, and to listen to the wind-and-rain storm in the darkness outside my windows. It’s 4 o’clock. I have already made coffee and filled pots with water, in case we lose our power. Abby and Nelson are asleep on the sofa by my feet. These quiet times fill me with gratitude, and maybe that should be my Christmas message.

After I send in this column, I’m going to get ready for my day at Windemere, gathering supplies for today’s art project. Tonight I can start baking. My favorite cookie recipes and ingredients are sitting ready on the kitchen counter. I enjoy making them once I get started. If our power doesn’t go out. If it does, I’ll light a candle.

Merry Christmas.

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