From the Editor

Strange times

It was an odd beginning to the summer here in paradise. And not only because it got going so fitfully, with June shrouded in what felt like weeks of fog and rain, and the Fourth of July sneaking up like a thief in the night. Or rather, more like an unwanted text – or, God forbid, a tweet – at first light from a phone that wisdom would suggest should not be left bedside. Ask not for whom the “smart” phone buzzes; it buzzes for you, smart-ass.

No, it was more than the weather, which nearly rotted the leaves off the ornamental cherry trees up-Island. Or the caterpillars, which were back again in corners of down-Island in numbers not seen for almost, but not quite, long enough to have been packed away in the memory as a one-time fluke and not a harbinger of a hard new reality. “It’s a caterpillar-eat-leaf world out there, pilgrim, so you better be ready. And you better ask yourself, ‘Are you a caterpillar, or a leaf?’”

Coming on the heels of a notably rancorous spring town meeting season, the sudden firing of the popular head of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital after only thirteen months on the job by a closed-door, closed-mouthed, self- and corporate-appointed board-of-directors-apparently-for-life tested the veneer of comity on the Island. “Trumpian,” howled more than one aggrieved member of the online peanut gallery. “The board president and the Development director [who are married] are professional people not Donald and Ivanka,” retorted another.
“This is not a conspiracy.”

The resulting sense that our long national insomnia had spread to the happy shores of Noepe was further enhanced by the spectacle of one popular educator quitting in a huff for reasons every Islander seemed to have an inside story about, but that no one wanted to go on the record and say. Another teacher, meanwhile, took to painting the school walls after hours without completing the requisite peer-reviewed mural inventory impact statement. It was as if the distinct odor of vendetta and whitewash had blown in on the prevailing southwest breeze all the way up the coast from the capital.

The good thing about an unwanted buzz at first light from a Mensa phone bearing the all-important news that the cable will not hold and the battery is running low – the good thing on the Vineyard at any rate – is that it might get you up for the day’s first tweets of real birdsong. It’s a music, I have been told, that literally circles the globe every day with the moving blush of sunlight. Whether the sound of one waking bird travels west and wakes the next sleeper in her nest even before the advancing sun gets there, I do not know. (Or am not currently at liberty to say.) But any chickadee will tell you, and the titmouse will confirm, along with four or five other reliable sources close to the story, that it’s time for sleepers to wake.

Wake up. It’s August already. There is much to do, and plenty of fun to be had.