Chilmark: Town awards, Kentucky Derby, Peaked Hill Studio, and Jason Mazar-Kelly

—MV Times

It was an awardwinning week for Chilmark. Bradley Carroll received an award for exceptional service from Oak Bluffs Fire and Emergency Services. Congratulations, and well-deserved.

The Chilmark Historical Commission awarded longtime member Jane Slater the Historical Commission Award. The award is only occasionally bestowed. The previous recipient was Betty Carroll, in 2015. Jane joined the commission in 1998, served as chair for 20 years, and is still a valued member for her depth of knowledge and her candor. All are invited to the celebration at the Chilmark library, Friday, May 10, from noon to 2 pm. Bring your ears and stories to share over nibbles and sweets. Maybe someone will bring a banjo — we can sing Jane’s song about the Mighty Aphrodite.

Jane’s brother, the late Conrad Neumann, was a poet and a professor specializing in geologic oceanography. The Chilmark library has a book of his poems on the shelf in their quiet reading room.

Cellar Holes
By Conrad Neumann

I’ve seen the land go from hand to hand.
The new owners know not the old who cleared the fields or built the bouldered walls or dug the well
or planted daffies by the stoop and lilacs by the door.
The land has passed from hand to hand.
Time has so stilled these things, the place for cutting winter wood or lugging water from the spring.
Who cut those squared-off granite stones that ring the cellar hole,
or honed the timbers for the sills that lie beneath your summer home?
The smell of wood smoke lasts ’til spring then summer comes erasing winter’s work.

I am burning the last of the wood in anticipation of repurposing my woodshed into a veggie and flower prep shed, with a porch, in my garden.

We have a tradition of picking a horse and gathering to watch the Kentucky Derby. I love looking at what people are wearing, and remarking on the hats. During the race, my mind and heart are cheering horses on, wincing at the whack of a crop urging a horse forward, and praying for the safety of the animals and humans on and off the track. I am not a fan of the racing and betting industry. But I love the performance art of dressed-up gatherings for a fast, athletic contest where the lead-up includes stories, songs, food, and the ceremony of a mixed-to-order beverage (mocktails are my thing), and wonder if it is possible to keep the good and remove the terrible. I want to thank my friend Susan Pratt for thinking it would be fun to watch the Derby somewhere. Of course we had to make hats. I texted the Chowder Co., and they assured us they had a TV and could turn up the volume. Susan wore a fashionable feather fascinator. I scored a straw hat from the Dumptique, and decorated it with yellow daffodils, white narcissus, drooping pearls of Japanese andromeda, geraniums, and paper flowers made by members of the Women’s Club of Martha’s Vineyard. Shout-out to Katie Dawson for dropping in with her fabulous ship-topped hat. I think we were the only ones wearing fun hats.

Last week in Sunday school we made a vase titled “Sunday Morning Patchwork from Menemsha Crossroad” to enter in Featherstone Center’s “The Art of Flowers exhibit” from May 5 to 26. It is beautiful. Well done, Andy Carr, Valentina, Georgiana, and Clayton Barbatti, Alexander and Callum Hart, Tasher and Jude Kisiel, and Isla McMahon.

For the opening, I filled the vase with fresh flowers, and added leftovers to my Derby hat. Susan adorned her whole body with flowers, and greeted and directed drives with a wand of flowers.

We were a spectacle.

Nancy Aronie’s registration for July writing workshops is open.

Valerie Sonnenthal writes that in May, she, along with other REV6 community members, will study “Neuro Sequencing for Enhanced Whole-Body Function” with Lois Layne, an expert in breathing and neurology. They are learning how to activate our cranial nerves to improve our breathing, circulation, and energy.

At the Peaked Hill Studio in Chilmark, Christine Montoya, dancer, healer, and teacher, is offering “Hips: A Somatic Movement Workshop for Women,” and trans women and female-identifying people, May 11 and 25.

I want to close with a shout-out to Jason Mazar-Kelly for successfully launching “Confidently Sensitive: Yoga” for mental differences. Thank you to Clare Bast, manager of Lululemon in Edgartown, for getting Jason sponsorship from the Lululemon Corp. I have mixed ideas about the addition of off-Island corporate brands, but applaud when they can recognize and lift up local talent. I look forward to announcements for ways we can support the next one in October. It was a kind, caring, and comforting, safe program that connected and stretched us internally and externally.

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