From the Editor

The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote that spring “comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.” I call it a welcome sign of hope.

Things have started to go batty up in the West Tisbury woods where I live, and I’m not just referring to the northern long-ear denizens that have returned to jitter and jive across my yard.

The deer have gone crazy. The birds have gone mad. The pinkletinks have gone positively berserk. They sound their cacophonous mating call all through the night, a chorus of “pick-me-pick-me-pick-me”s emanating from the ponds. 

In just one recent day – the first truly fine day of the year – I spotted four hawks, one falcon, two ospreys, three turkey vultures, four bunnies on the way to make fourteen or forty more bunnies, and one dastardly tick. 

Eight young deer set up camp inside my garden, trampling the fence and feasting on newly sprouted weeds. A bird flew into a window. Another, begging me to fill the feeder, chased me around the yard. I complied, of course. 

That ravenous chickadee signaled its thanks by chirping and hollering and tweeting to all its friends. Soon enough, dozens – and I do mean dozens – of cardinals and bluebirds and titmice and towhees and finches and mourning doves and woodpeckers arrived. By nightfall they had gobbled up the whole darn thing.

Some people refer to this amped-up annual display as spring fever, vernal exuberance, or, in the case of the bunnies and pinkletinks, species-sustaining lust. The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay called it idiocy. Spring “comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers,” she wrote. I call it a welcome sign of hope.

Winter was long. In many ways, early spring was longer, filled with endless stretches of brutal wind and relentless rain. That’s par for the course on the Vineyard. Anyone who has spent even one off-season here knows that spring unfurls slowly. It takes maddeningly long for the mercury to rise, the sky to turn blue, the fog to roll out, and the oak leaves to come in. Still, at long last, there are signs that the Island is waking up.

All across this spit of land, gardeners are pushing peas into muddy soil and mending fences. They’re potting up tomatoes and planting flowers. The once-quiet streets of Edgartown are again filled with the usual army of contractors and house painters and landscapers doing what they do best: annoying everyone with the clanging of hammers and incessant wheezing of leaf blowers. Down at the marinas, seaworthy folks are hauling boats out of storage and applying spar varnish. Up in Aquinnah, the herring are starting to run. 

Any day now, the streets and harbors and social calendars will fill to capacity. Seasonal residents will arrive in droves to open their homes and sweep out the cobwebs. The field at Nip ’n Tuck Farm in West Tisbury will glow yellow with buttercups. The tree canopy will return. 

Grassy new spring will crescendo to full-throated, glorious, over-extended, over-saturated summer. But not yet.

Right now, we take it all in. We savor the rare warm day, the fresh pop of color, the newly discovered nest snuggled in the eaves. The month of May – its very name – grants us permission to do so. Yes, you may rejoice at each emerging leaf, it says. Yes, you may delight in every rapturous morning and evening song. 

Why not? Spring is fleeting and full of wonder. You may just go a little batty from the splendor of it all.