What follows is an edited selection of nature writings from the Gazette Editorial Page throughout the year.


The weather this month has been enough to send anyone to the therapist’s couch. First came a tease of spring — real spring, the kind the Island only rarely sees, with warm temperatures, spring bulbs pushing up through the wet dark ground, pinkletinks coming up out of the mud with their tiny frog chorus.

Then there was snowfall — real snowfall followed by bitter cold and ice and wind off the water.

It appeared at times that every man woman and child on this side of the Sound was in a funk. (March is also of course unofficial cranky season on the Vineyard).


Daffodils, grape hyacinths and other naturalized spring flowers have lingered in the chilly April evenings, bringing cheer on gray days. Have there been more of the latter than usual this year? It certainly seems so.

At the moment, cherry and magnolia trees are in a starring role around the Island, bringing splashes of color to the greening landscape, matched by pink and white azaleas.

Herring are running, soon to be followed by squid, stripers and bluefish.

Suddenly April felt right again.


The wild buttercups have been beautiful this year, great drifts of them strewn across meadows and lawns, no doubt encouraged by the spring rains that have been falling by bucketfuls in recent weeks. Freshwater ponds and streams that had been reduced to caked mudholes are full again. The drought that had threatened last fall is over. The first cut of hay is down in West Tisbury, green and raw, like the new season ahead. The air is filled with birdsong in the mornings and evenings. You can feel the change — in the gradually warming weather and in the conversation among Islanders. Like the birds, we are full of chatter again. Summer is on the horizon. Not here yet, but coming.


A changing of the guard is now taking place in fields and meadows as pink and white clover tall grasses yield to oxeye daisies. The simple flowers will bloom all summer, but right now they are at their best for cutting, still a little furled, perhaps paired with some lavender from the kitchen garden in a simple white vase on the old farm table.

The child’s art of making daisy chains endures — we are reminded of this every year when students at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School graduate, wearing wreaths of flowers in their hair in place of the traditional tassled caps. To be sure, daisy chains are for wearing, not tossing.


The fog rolled out and summer rolled in late last week. The relentless chill of spring has finally shifted. Winds are blowing mostly out of the south-southwest now, and the air is warmer, drier. Ocean water is finally warm enough for swimming — not officially warm but warm enough. Spring wildflowers have been replaced in rapid succession by their early summer counterparts: yarrow, wild carrot and bee balm, marsh mallow and cow parsnip. Shorefronts are carpeted in rosa rugosa and beach peas.


Come in August, she said, when the night skies are full of shooting stars and the wind shifts a little to the west, bringing drier air that helps the farmers cure their second cut of hay.

Then August began to disappear and summer was on the wane again — like so many summers before.


Hurricane Jose came to town this week, staying well offshore but brushing the Cape and Islands with tropical storm-force winds and rain.

It was a pretty good blow, even by Island standards. Derby fishermen scrambled to find a place in the lee to ply their craft. Hardy Island surfers donned wetsuits and relished the huge waves on the Atlantic-facing south shore.

A slow-moving storm, Jose hung around like the overbearing house guest that wouldn’t leave. By day’s end Thursday, the rain had let up but the wind still pummeled.


November light has its own unique qualities. In the early morning it brushes the cerulean blue eastern sky over Chappaquiddick with bright, new-day hues of orange and yellow. In late afternoon it bathes the moors of Aquinnah in rich tones of gold and mahogany. The light fades quickly during these shortening days, and dusk falls like a curtain on the natural stage that is the ever-changing Vineyard landscape.


This week temperatures plummeted, the wind howled and cold seeped into every crack in the old farmhouse.

Islanders will get used to the cold, they always do.

But first a good long snuggle may be in order beneath a pile of quilts. While dreams of warm ocean swimming dance in our head.