At the warm end of last week the trees started taking fall seriously. The oak leaves drifted gently down on still days, making a carpet of brown that covered the green lawns and long patches of the dirt roads. When the leaves first fell, with their points facing skyward, our front yard looked like a choppy brown sea, the way that calm water looks in a hard rain.
I thought these leaves would have come down in the big wind we had a little more than a week earlier. Why did they wait for windless warm days to fall? The oak in our front yard always drops leaves about the same day, year after year, no matter what the weather that has gone on before. I know this because it’s always a day or two before our son’s birthday, and we used to pile up the leaves for jumping into. Someone said that the leaves actually fall because the new growth (of next year’s leaves) pushes them off the branch. That sounds like a metaphor for life, and like something that’s happening at our house — with both kids home now, it seems like maybe we parents should move out.
A couple of times in the warm weather last week I found myself out on Cape Pogue Pond in the kayak, even though I’d been off to do something totally different. With no wind, I could hear the gulls out near the gut and at the same time, at the other end of the pond, the wings of the ducks as they skimmed the water in landing or taking off.
Looking back to shore, I could see the bare trees silhouetted against the sky where a short time ago they were covered with brightly colored leaves. With so many leaves off, some of the later trees buried in the woods get their turn to show off. Seen through the maze of gray trunks and branches, the beech trees look especially spectacular with green leaves turning to yellow, turning to orange, all on the same tree.
Bob O’Rourke told me he’d been fishing after dusk and catching lots of bass, even into November, and said there are still bait fish around now. The water is cold but still warm enough for fishing and for wading.
Bob is an avid table tennis player, one of the Aquinnapong group that has been playing regularly for a few years at the Aquinnah town hall. Since that building is under construction, the group is now playing on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in the West Tisbury School gym. Bob says it’s the best venue on the Island in terms of light and space. The group welcomes new players, beginner or experienced, and they’re happy to teach and provide equipment.
On Chappy, we have Chappy Pong, led by Bob, who was available to teach and play all summer at the community center. He’d like to continue this fall and winter if there are people interested in playing there inside on Saturday mornings. You can reach him at 508-627-7902.
The next potluck at the community center is on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 6:00. Hosting the dinner will be Edwin Seabury, who is known for his delicious appetizers.
Donna Kelly, Chappy gardener and landscaper, is mentioned in a new Island book, A Garden Lover’s Martha’s Vineyard, by C. L. Fornari, who also did a book about gardens on Cape Cod. Donna takes care of the Suhlers’ gardens, which are featured in the chapter Gardens Large and Small.
Kevin Keady has a new album, his fourth, That I Might Sleep Tonight. On it he plays his original lyrics accompanied by guitar, with his backup band, the Cattle Drivers. Kevin’s songs are offbeat — not literally — and with his deep, out-of-the-ordinary voice, his albums give lots of listening pleasure.
Ever since Peter Wells bought the ferries back at the beginning of the year, he’s stuck pretty close to them, trying to make them as safe and reliable as he could. His grandchildren’s visits are about the only thing that lure him away.
Last weekend he and his granddaughter Abby stopped by my house with a bucket of frogs. They were taking them from the tiny, shallow pond in his yard, where they would likely freeze this winter, to the watery marsh in front of my house so the frogs could spend the season burrowed into the muck.
The next day Peter, who does his best to take care of us Chappaquiddickers, was in need of care himself. He’d been running on empty for quite awhile, though still at work making the On Time II meet Coast Guard standards. Finally succumbing to a lingering chest cough, he made the trip to the hospital in the ambulance where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put to bed. Some people need extra encouragement to take time off. But Peter seems to be responding well to lying still and doing nothing, so hopefully he’ll be up again by the time you read this.