Aquinnah: Springtime birds, candidate forum, Island Grown Initiative, and solar eclipse

—MV Times

As the impact of spring gets more and more apparent (leaves are showing!), and we have the occasionally truly sunny and warm day, I am reminded of the ditty my Dad used to tease us kids with: “Ah, spring! Da boid is on da wing!” and we would have to respond, “Don’t be absoid, da wing is on da boid!” And it is true, there are some new winged birds flocking to the feeder, and there are lovely fat robins on the lawn.

Part of spring is, of course, town meeting and town election time. Here in Aquinnah, our town meeting isn’t until May 14, and our election won’t be held until May 16. However, you can start to get prepared this week. On Wednesday, April 24, at 7 pm, the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard will be hosting a forum for candidates running for both contested and uncontested offices in Aquinnah. The forum will be held at the Town Hall, and there will be a chance for candidates to speak, and then time for questions from the audience. I am grateful to the League for making this possible. It’s a chance to get to know the folks who want to help steer our town. Come and learn.

Island Grown Initiative sent out a report on the food gleaned in 2023, and it’s impressive. They gleaned about 67,000 pounds of food from farms across the Vineyard. This doesn’t include the food they gathered from the M.V. Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby, and from the Venison Donation Program. They gleaned kale and bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, strawberries and melons, carrots and potatoes, and more. The food gathered and gleaned amounted to an astonishing 464,871 servings. This program serves kitchens and large distribution programs. Most deliveries are between 100 and 600 pounds. They share food with every public school on the Island, every food distribution organization, and several prepared meal programs, as well as providing food for the Island Food Pantry, the Northeast Native Network of Kinship and Healing, Serving Hands, and MV Food Baskets. This work is done by 178 adult volunteers, and more than 700 students who came on gleaning field trips to Island Grown Farm. If you want to help out this year, sign up by registering with

Although it is now old news, I do want to share how moved I was by the eclipse. Before it happened, I was somewhat blasé about it, thinking that it was mildly interesting and kind of fun. Once it began, Charley and I went out with our special eclipse glasses in hand, walked around the barn, put on the glasses, and looked up. I gasped. Seeing the sun as a golden orb, appearing so perfectly round and beautiful, with the arc of the perfectly round black moon moving slowly over it, was like meeting dearly beloveds that you had only dreamed of before. We walked up to the lighthouse, where we became part of the crowd of people wearing the glasses, heads tilted upward, all of them as awestruck as we were. We were joined by friends and family there. As the moon moved between us and the sun, the temperature began to drop. The world began to look different, with the rusts and golds and vibrant yellows subdued, and a monochromatic silvery tint took over. I was moved by the beauty of it, and by the thought of the people of the Earth craning their necks in concert, united in wonder. I won’t be alive for the next one, but I am so grateful I got to see this.

I have one birthday wish to express this week, and that is to Vernon Powell on April 18. (And I again want to thank Jamie Vanderhoop, who gave me her family birthday list months ago, and Tom Murphy and Barbara Wallen, who both sent me their listing as well. I ask you to join them in helping to celebrate your family and kin, by sending me your family listing.)

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