Lickety-split renovations are a specialty of sorts for Mark Snider.
Sometimes the arc of the moral universe is long and slow, and sometimes it curves sharply, making up for wasted time. That was the case last month as scattered calls to remove the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina capitol ignited a nationwide call to expel Confederate symbols from all parks and government buildings. In the weeks following the massacre of black worshipers in a Charleston church, plans were laid to topple Confederate statues from Texas to Florida, with more surely to come.
An ecological crisis may not be what comes to mind when driving along Beach Road from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs, with the harbor on your left and Lagoon Pond on your right and the seagulls wheeling overhead. In the summer, the Lagoon is a place of kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and sailing lessons. In the fall, scallopers dot the surface with their dip nets and baskets and wooden peep sights, losing (or finding) themselves in the sparkling expanse. In some ways the pond is a picture of ecological health and beauty.
Winter sports are a not-so-secret pleasure of Island life in the season between late fall beachcombing and the thrilling arrival of snowdrops. All the more so because the appearance of ideal conditions cannot be predicted or promised. Only anticipated and prepared for.
Nicole Grace Mercier
Ask almost anyone about their childhood days at summer camp and they will regale you with tales of adventure, summer friendships, and cheesy camp songs they love to this day. At Sengekontacket Pond in Edgartown it’s no different.
The many alumni of Fern and Feather Natural History Day Camp will tell you that they slept in tents, made fast friends, and looked up to this counselor or another. But they’ll also tell you about the first time they held a snake, and the time they found their first horseshoe crab.
The wasps are tiny, almost invisibly so, but their vandalism is evident all across the Island.
When I walked the Caroline Tuthill Preserve earlier this year, what I noticed first was the aroma of the pitch pine forest, a smell that brought me back to my childhood when I used to visit my aunt and uncle who had a home very close to this sanctuary in Edgartown. The trails are narrow with soft sand, and are mostly covered by a blanket of pine needles,all of which makes for a pleasant floor to walk on.
Albert O. Fischer
I first explored Menemsha Hills more than fifty years ago, when the trails we followed were mostly made by cattle and deer. In the early 1940s, my father, with the aid of friends, had stacked a pile of boulders on the summit of Prospect Hill. His goal was to make the top of the pile roughly three feet higher than the 311-foot Peaked Hill, which is the Island’s highest point. I still to this day climb on top of that pile of boulders just to get the feeling of knowing that nobody is standing higher than me on the Vineyard.
Albert O. Fischer