There was a brush fire on Chappy this past Sunday. The Chappy and Edgartown fire departments were quick to arrive, however, and less than half an acre between two homes burned. We are indeed fortunate to have these very capable volunteers at our disposal. Thank you.

I discovered the fire late in the afternoon, at first mistaking the wind-whipped smoke for fog or pollen. I would guess it had been burning for some 30 minutes before I arrived on the scene in my golf cart, a testament to the relative laconic life here on North Neck — summer waits for July 4.

I called in the fire to 911, and then watched from the deck of my neighbor’s home as the flames rapidly approached its wooden frame. In my retelling of this story later this summer (whilst waiting for the ferry), the flames will have morphed into a towering inferno, but the truth of their fourth-grader height remains relevant in my present memory. Despite its small stature, the fire did appear to pose a considerable threat to the home in its path — I could feel its heat from feet away. Then the wind shifted, and directed the flames away from the house and back over its burnt-out turf. Did I do this? By sheer will alone, did I change the path of the fire and perhaps history itself? Hard to say. But one thing is for certain, I am a hero.

The lesson here is that it is best to err on the side of caution when one suspects some danger is afoot. Maybe it’s a “guy thing,” but my default setting seems to be settled somewhere between “I’m sure it’s fine” and “It’s probably nothing at all” when presented with alarming cues. This must be reset now that I am a father.

Speaking of Chappy and its lessons, I find myself often (or at least twice a month, come column time) drawing on my experience here to reflect upon the meaning of it all. This forced reflection can appear contrived when put into writing. I think authors are guilty of liberal use of their embellishment pen when trying to match real events to the point they are attempting to make — the facts are manipulated to fit their story. Instead of drawing conclusions from experience, a conclusion is made and then the experience is adapted to fit that experience.

But for me, the Chappy column is an opportunity to meditate on the past couple weeks’ happenings. What happened, and what does it mean? Furthermore, because this column is ostensibly about Chappy, I make an effort to extract those details that most resonate with our island’s vibe. In a sense, the column serves as a Chappy diary for me. The flow is organic, the lessons arise simply from sitting still long enough to allow Chappy to speak to me. For this, I owe the Gazette thanks. But it doesn’t mean that I’d be willing to forgo the healthy monetary compensation I receive, nor the Chevy Malibu with Gazette plates that resides in my garage (if I had a garage).

In other (great) news, The Chappy Store in now open! The hours of operation are 8:30 to 5:00, seven days a week. The Slip Away Farm farm stand is also open now on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 to 5. I was informed of this opening by Peter Wells and Margaret Knight as I rushed to my truck in the Chappy Ferry lot (they always want way too many hugs) but there was a dispute over the opening hour of the farm. My inclination was to just go with a number, but in respect to my comrades in dirt, I went the extra mile, and looked up their hours on Facebook. So it’s 10 a.m.

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