Chilmark: Effects of storm, Community Church, Preschool, and North Tabor Farm

—MV Times

“There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.” —Adrienne Rich, “Sources” 

It was a shocking week of warm winter storms. The most recent storms from the South brought fierce seas and inches of rain. They thawed and tore at the cliffs, and toppled a scary-to-walk-by cracked boulder. Streams flooded their banks. Waves washed over dunes. I found the bones of my beloved dog just off the easternmost path to the beach. He had a strong drive for stinky things. The day he wandered off was super-hot and humid. The night before we cuddled on his bed — his body was as long as mine — his breathing that close to death wheeze, his muscles relaxed. I knew he was close to passing. The next morning he perked up, asking to be let out. I put down the sheets for the guest bed — a dear friend was arriving on the next ferry — opened the door, scratched his head, and said, I love you, buddy. Watching him sniff the air, I assured him, I’ll be right there, and closed the door.

It was a super-hot, sticky, and humid early July day. He liked to rest in the cool grass under the magnificent hundred-plus-year-old catalpa tree that stands next to the house. He wasn’t there. I called Chris Murphy, Chilmark’s animal control officer. He was kind. His story of finding the spot his dog found to rest was a great comfort. I walked miles of deer trails looking for him, and cried buckets of tears.

It is a comfort to know he died on a bluff overlooking the sea, in a shaded, sheltered spot where deer trails cross, and a few hundred yards from the cliff sheltering a whale.

My heart deeply loves and grieves. Unexpected waves of grief rise, leading to sobs and tissue-soaking tears. A dearest friend offered to help me gather his bones and bury him. I’m grateful and unsure. Given the recent rate of erosion, it seems likely that in a storm or two this spot and his bones might be washed into the sea. He was a once-in-a-lifetime companion.

So many contrasts and changes.

Last week, we lost 12 feet of bluff. Menemsha flooded. Lucy Vincent Beach and Squibnocket are unrecognizable.

Deaths, wars, and violent conflicts weigh heavily, and yet, when the sun breaks through the clouds, when music is played, or when someone smiles a greeting, I remember that somehow we manage to weather all that comes our way. We roll up our sleeves, take on hard tasks, and comfort one another along the way; moments of giddy silliness, the kind where you fall over, will return.

The Chilmark Community Church on the Menemsha Crossroad has a community building in the back that hosts Nan Doty’s “Qigong” class at 8 am on Tuesdays, and a new “Balance Class” on Thursdays at 11 am.

Thursdays at 1 pm, a group of string musicians gather to play together. All are encouraged to bring their instrument and join.

The Chilmark library’s free book sale continues. I keep finding just what I didn’t know I was looking for. This week it was “The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, and Live Longer,” by Gretchen Reynolds, a friend who writes for the NY Times.

Also at the library, YogiJay is offering a yoga class for kids on Wednesdays at 3 pm.

The libraries still offer Beach BeFrienders trash pickup packets. I keep one in my car, and this weekend went back to pick up more, because the storms brought so much trash. It helps to have a bag and a sticker so you can drop it off at the dump free.

Beetlebung Farm’s stand has closed for the winter, but you can find a Party Mix of their spinach and arugula at Cronig’s Markets. They will also supply the chefs at Beach Road, State Road, and @moonydinnerparty, which will offer dinners at S&S in Vineyard Haven this week.

A permanent home for the Chilmark Preschool is the only item on the agenda at the special town meeting on Jan. 22, at 7 pm, at the Chilmark Community Center. I encourage all Chilmark residents to show up and vote yes “to approve and authorize a lease of no less than 3,000 square feet of town-owned land behind the Chilmark Elementary School,” and give the Chilmark Preschool a forever home.

Last week North Tabor Farm announced that it is offering a take-home dinner option on Thursdays. Place orders by Tuesday evening for pickup at the farm stand on Thursday. Jan. 18 dinner was: Baked Half-Chicken Dinner with roasted potatoes and veggies (for two), Baked Tofu with Roasted Potatoes and veggies (can be for one or two), and a dessert option, Rebecca’s favorite olive oil cake with NTF fruit compote.

The farm also offers soups on Wednesdays.

Dana Nunes and Ed Sussman have returned to New Zealand for a three-month stay. This is their eighth visit. New Zealand is on my bucket list. I wish them good weather, and look forward to hearing stories when they return.

I understand from my most reliable source, Katie Carroll, that Sarah Allan and Scott Larsen are engaged. Congratulations.

Margaret Maida shared the joyous news that Andrew and Kimberlie Ruimerman are proud parents of Maria Rose Ruimerman. This makes Janet Weidner and Tom grandparents for the first time. What a lucky child.

I hope we get some snow.

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