Blissful Quiet

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Hurricane Bill has passed us by with minimal effects: the dull sullen boom of the surf along the south lying beaches, some rain and a bit of breeze early this morning. Now we are awaiting the arrival of the first family, and with the imposition of an air exclusion zone for the next week the Island airports are blissfully quiet. Rather than the usual noise of frequent private jets, hordes of small planes and even the scheduled airlines, we’ve got only a few planes overhead. For those of us whose lives are profoundly affected by the noise from the airports whether we live near or far, this is a very pleasant respite. There has been the usual outcry from the usual suspects who are private pilots or employed by the airlines but how many of the flights in and out of the Vineyard are actually economically important, or even necessary? We’ve all heard of some particularly egregious reasons for flights: the couple who routinely fly their maid to Zabar’s to stock up on delicacies for the weekend, or the folks from Connecticut (“it is only an hour each way for us and we fly in all the time”) who visit to dig a mess of clams and then fly home to cook them for supper, or someone going up to fly along the beaches looking for skimpily clad bathers. And then there is the incessant drone from Warbird as she flies back and forth crisscrossing the Vineyard with sticky-beaking (nosy) passengers. Why are so many of us subjected to the noisy whims of so few? And with so little need?

Virginia Crowell Jones

West Tisbury

Blues Squadron Overhead

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I couldn’t hear the frogs in the pond behind the house last night, or the soft wind in the trees. Or, for that matter, the roar of an occasional Harley on Seaview avenue. All I could hear were military jets circling overhead. I love Barack and I want him to be protected and, if it’s necessary to have the combat air patrol a few thousand feet overhead, okay. But how can he and Michelle sleep? Or Bo, for that matter? They did go higher, I have to say, as the night wore on. But maybe they could hover a little further away? Like over Nantucket? The worrying sound of government aircraft may even flush out a malefactor of great wealth — or two.

Sam Low

Oak Bluffs