Chilmark: Potluck Jam, Peaked Hill Studio, Pathways, and book sale

—MV Times

I am grateful to live in Chilmark. Many houses have lights and decorations you can see from the road. We come together and we carry forward traditions and often the Community Center plays host.

Last Thursday evening Katie and Marshall Carroll, Jonah Maidoff, Emma Mayhew, and many others helped the Chilmark Community Fire Department host a potluck with pizza and cider and Santa bearing gifts for each of the town’s 90 children from newborn to fifth grade. The room was full of kid energy. They were so excited. Santa did a great job, There were squeals of joy and a few tears. I know that when I was little I was rarely photogenic around Santa. Santa reminded me of a scary clown. These kids are brave.

This Saturday, Dec. 30, at 5 pm, is the 61st Chilmark Potluck Jam. Bring food to share. Lexie Roth, Lucy Mayhew, Isaac Taylor, Nathan Hassell, Pickpocket, Dan Waters, Perry Drips, Big Weather, Neil Howl, Casey Hayward, Martha Halperin, Emmett Athearn, Alex Karalekas, Mike Benjamin, Atlas Zack, Loose Fit, Steve Hart, Tristan Israel, Paul Thurlow, Maddie Tully, Davie Willis, Nancy Jephcote, Rick O’Gorman, Philip daRosa, Jason Jarrell, Phill Spillane, Mary Sossong, Rachel Baird, and Lake of Autumn are in the lineup.

Valerie Sonenthal’s Peaked Hill Studio sound journeys are healing. She is offering a New Year’s Day Sound Journey, Monday, Jan. 1, at 4:30 pm. Her website is ​

I am honing my brain and diving deeply into the writings of the great minister, theologian, dean, and author, Howard Thurman. I like to listen to original recordings and was pleased to find the Howard Thurman Digital Archive hosted by Emory University. Howard Thurman’s sermon from Dec. 24, 1978, titled “The Mood of Christmas” is 42 minutes long and full of wisdom.

“And I thought, one does not need to have the light as one’s constant environment. One needs only to have just even a flash of light to announce that light is stronger than darkness. And if I can remember that, I will have no fear of the darkness, because I will know that light.

“This is the meaning of Christmas. That light is the enemy of the darkness. And the light does not have to shine all the time.

“Do you remember in Paracelsus he says, so long the way I sought lay ahead, and then the darkness broke, and I saw the city. And the darkness came back again, but I had seen the city. “And that view, no darkness can obscure.

“Now I think this is a word of Christmas.”

I can see the light in others as well as in the natural world. My prayers continue for the many who are living through previously unimaginable moments.

Keeping the lights on in Chilmark is one of Pathways’ missions.

Catch Bruce MacNelly’s Drawings, Paintings, and Collage through Dec. 31.

Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 7:30 pm hosts Donald Nitchie and his poetry group followed by an open mic. Donald’s work is terrific. Doors open at 7 pm. For more information, call 508-645-9098.

The Chilmark library’s book sale continues. They have a great selection of videos as well as books. I scored collections of Virginia Woolf’s diaries and letters and plan to go back and look for a few mystery novels.

The Chilmark Community Church hosted a lovely evening service of song and story on Christmas Eve. They, too, help keep the lights on. The next Offerings of Music and Light will be Sunday, Jan. 7. I hope you can join us.

Have a good week and enjoy the lights.

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