The next Chappy Community Center potluck dinner will be hosted by Joanne and Bill Brine on Wednesday evening Feb. 21. Please bring a dish of your choice to serve six. Entrées, sides and deserts are all welcome. Appetizers and conversation will be from 6 to 6:30 with dinner and dessert from 6:30 to 8. And here is a new addition to the evening which indicates to me that we are most assuredly in the throes of mid-winter — Bingo at 7:30. There’s only one way to find out what it’s all about and that is to show up. The CCC is looking to hire a head sailing instructor and a sailing assistant for the upcoming summer season. See the center website for details and contact information.

Here on Chappy the frost is pretty much out of the ground, except for a few spots in the shade. The last rain storm gave us a dousing of an inch and a half of water. Of course, you are wondering how much water that would be per square foot. That would be nearly a gallon per square foot. Or if you like to think in acres — 27,000 gallons per acre. No wonder there were gigantic puddles everywhere. At least this water for the most part was able to sink in where it fell. Unlike the previous rain that was held near the surface by the frozen ground. The freshwater and saltwater ponds are staying so close to their freezing point that any calm clear cold night makes them skim over with ice. By mid-morning either the sun or the wind makes it all disappear. Except for a few spots in the shade.

If you like the peace and quiet aspect of Mytoi garden, then this is the right time of the year to visit. Except for a tiny school of tiny goldfish under the bridge you will have the whole place to yourself. It has just become apparent to me that there are several kinds of Rhododendron. Some have plump hard buds that look ready to burst while others have buds only the size of a pencil eraser. Mytoi contains a wide variety of evergreen shrubs and trees. The huge pitch pine just inside the entrance gate came down narrowly missing the stockade fence. It left behind a stump of about two feet in diameter. That I am reporting on the demise of a tree is another sure indicator that this is the dead of winter.

It is, however, interesting to note that many big evergreen trees have been toppled by the recent storms blowing out of the south. The one at Mytoi fell due north. Several big ones also fell in that direction near the bluffs at Wasque. I have noticed that most trees fall down the bank as the elements erode the soil beneath them. But recently many have fallen in the opposite direction. It’s an interesting combination of nature’s forces at work coincidentally. The wind driven rain beats on the face of the bluff for hours on end undermining the roots of a tree. At the same time that same wind holds the tree up against the force of gravity until it loses enough anchorage that it can no longer resist the wind and crashes backwards into the trees to landward.

Once in a while I like to Google what events occurred in the past on a particular date. There are several online sites. It’s interesting to note that on this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to face charges of heresy. He advocated the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Humans are among the smartest and most adaptive animals on the planet, but as a group we sometimes display the forethought of a flock of sheep.

Remember that quote from the writings of George Santayana? "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Santayana wrote that more than a century ago. Galileo showed up for court to try to reason with the guys who ran the world at that time to defend a fact that now even a third grader can explain. His court date was 385 years ago.

Unfortunately, even though you may remember the past very well, you will still get hustled along when the rest of the flock gets startled.

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