This past week in West Tisbury has been marked with much sadness — with events that have marred town tranquility. But spring has arrived, of course, and, brought its beauty and solace with it.
If one sits on the Allen M. Look memorial bench by the Mill Pond, the mallards will quack and the male swan spread his wings and show off elegantly. On weekends and after school, young trout fishermen are out casting their rods into this West Tisbury centerpiece. But even more tranquility is to be found on Tisbury Great Pond.
I took the dirt road beside Up-Island Automotive to get to the pond early the other morning. I like walking dirt roads because they meander the way I do. They rarely seem to go in a straight line—perhaps because, when they were dug, there were rocks or trees in the way of their route, and their builders simply skirted them rather than removing them. That dirt road is one of those. It passes houses, but most are set well back on dirt roads of their own. Some have gardens just beginning to bloom. The first yellow is showing on their forsythia bushes.
With Easter only a little more than a week away, the rabbits are bounding about, of course, and one froze in the grass as I passed by. It assumed, I suppose, that I would not notice its presence if it sat very still. I was reminded, watching it, of the rabbit that Charlotte Hall saw in her Edgartown garden last spring. It was washing its face in the dew on one of the flowers. Then, clean and refreshed, it hopped cheerily off. Gardener though she is, Charlotte could not help but enjoy that Beatrix Potter-like happening in one of her flowerbeds. But, back to me on my dirt road walk.
I largely stayed in the soft sand tracks rather than walking in the grass and stubble on the road’s crown. Crown-walking is for rainy days when the ruts tend to have water in them. In the fall, I take this road to see the cattails, and to try to pick one for a dried flower bouquet that will hold me till winter is over, especially if I gather red and gold bittersweet to go with it. Now, I would like to do some spring flower-gathering, of course, but it is too soon unless I steal a forsythia branch from a summer house whose occupants will be arriving too late to enjoy the forsythia’s beauty.
At the pond itself, I went down to the dock that Hasty Runner and her neighbors put into the water in summer. Both it and the rowboats and canoes that go in with it are all still hauled up on the shore.
A few weeks ago when I was at the pond, the water was high. Last week, though, Kent Healy—one of the Great Pond stewards charged with managing the pond’s draining—opened it to the ocean. Because of that, its waters are low now—admittedly less inviting than when they were high, but there were still ducks happily diving in the distance. Canada geese flew by overhead and a mourning dove cooed in the distance.
On my last visit, I had startled a muskrat sitting by the pond’s edge, but this time I had to be satisfied with the rabbit I had surprised. At this time of year, I see few strollers, though occasionally Ben and Paddy Moore are out walking with their gray cat.
On my way home, as I walked down Music street, I stopped to admire the blue scilla at the Paul Cook house. It looks, my neighbor Ann Burt says, as if bits of blue sky have tumbled down onto it. The tossing daffodils surrounding Tom Maley’s statue at Tim and Eileen Maley’s, seemed to be dancing a welcome-to-spring gavotte. A tree stump at the head of Tiasquam road was bright with purple and white pansies that Ann Burt has planted.
This week’s tragedies notwithstanding, peace and beauty are still to be found in presummer West Tisbury.