“This is the most beautiful place on Earth,” Edward Abbey writes in his opening line of Desert Solitaire. He continues: “There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.”

I wonder how many times, over how many years, and in how many different places, someone has thought, as Abbey did, “This is the most beautiful place on Earth.” Certainly the count would be high on Martha’s Vineyard.

In the past week alone, these words have come to my mind twice on Chappaquiddick. The first was a sunset at Wasque. Clear winter sky overhead, light dancing on the tips of the beach grass. It was windy and with each gust the dunes rippled as one golden wave. The bay was glassy, low tide exposing stretches of sand, ice forming on the edge of land and water. We remained tucked in the car, out of the wind. Juna, at nearly 14 months, sang songs to herself in the backseat while we waited for sunset. It arrived in a burst of cotton-candy pinks and blues as the sun lingered low in the sky before dropping below the horizon.

Yesterday, I again heard Abbey’s words while Juna and I were out for our daily walk. We found ourselves at the outer islands of Poucha Pond, back behind Pimpneymouse Farm. The winter light is always remarkable in late afternoon, and yesterday was no exception. We stood admiring the open view over the marsh for a few moments as my dog, Baxley, hunted for field mice in the tall clumps of phragmite.

I remembered how a few years ago I watched two does cross this wet lowland. I spooked them out of the beetlebung trees that line the edge of the marsh, and they took off across the open land, leaping over the many wet spots as they ran. Never before have I had the opportunity to watch them for so long. Usually they are quick to disappear into the woods, but in this spot there was nowhere for them to hide. It was beautiful to see them move so gracefully across the landscape, with the pond, and then beyond that, East Beach and the ocean, as their backdrop.

Very happy birthday wishes to Chappaquiddicker Margaret Knight. Margaret and I have a standing tradition of meeting for lunch once a week. More often than not, we meet at Margaret’s house and she treats me and Juna to her cooking, always creative dishes of vegetarian comfort food. Yesterday, I happened to invite her to our house instead. I am glad I did because after she arrived, I learned it was her birthday. She has a family tradition of trying to celebrate the day for a week before and the week after the actual day. So, happy birthday week, Margaret.

It is cold today. The wood stove is working hard to keep the house warm and a bit of snow is in the forecast. Although it is still most certainly winter, the days are becoming noticeably longer. Dan Athearn of Morning Glory Farm came over last week to help me pound the wooden posts for a new deer fence. We wrapped up the day around five o’clock and it was still light out in the field. It was also so warm that day that Dan pointed out it could have been a day in April rather than in February.

Joe Currier tells me he and his wife recently purchased Chesca’s, the restaurant in Edgartown. The Curriers moved to Chappy year-round this past fall, and I am excited to hear they will be settling further into the community. Congratulations to the whole Currier family, we are lucky to have you all here.

Send Chappy news to slipawayfarm@gmail.com or peterchappyferry@gmail.com.