I hope our community will rally for Jeff and Becca LaMarche, former Chappy ferry captains, who need our support during a heartbreaking and challenging time. As many of you know, Becca and Jeff were expecting twins in February. Last week, after a month of bed rest at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Becca gave birth to two boys, Dylan Toby LaMarche and Elliott Richard LaMarche, each weighing a little over two pounds. The boys were immediately admitted into the NICU and hours later Dylan began to experience severe lung problems. Devastatingly, the doctors were unable to save him. Elliott is relatively stable, but he remains on a ventilator and each day can bring unexpected complications. He will remain in the NICU at least until his due date in February.

The month of bedrest and an unknown future means that Becca and Jeff will have many expenses, both for medical and living away from the Island while surviving on a single income. A Go Fund Me Campaign has been organized to help Becca and Jeff with these expenses. You can find their page by searching “Becca LaMarche” on the Go Fund Me site. I watched as the number climbed to nearly $20,000 in less than 24 hours. It feels like such a small gift in the face of such pain, but I hope it can bring a bit of comfort to Becca, Jeff and baby Elliott. Please hold them in your thoughts and consider donating.

The annual craft fair at the Community Center this past weekend was, as usual, charming and cozy. Sidney Morris handed out CCC calendars next to a well-stocked table of treats, and a warm fire welcomed guests. Kate Greer had a table with all of her creative crafts: jewelry, notebooks made with handmade paper bindings, prints of dried flowers and plants and elegant hand-dyed silk scarves. Dana Gaines sold prints of his classic Chappaquiddick maps, and Lily Morris was there with her cards, each featuring a beautiful photograph taken on Chappy or Martha’s Vineyard. She and her mom, Margaret, sold wreaths they made the night before. Grapevine and bittersweet formed the base on which they wrapped dried flowers, like gomphrena, statice, and strawflower. Wild-foraged plants including winterberry, holly, goldenrod, phragmites and various grasses. Margaret sold her Wooligans (clothes made from recycled felted wool) and offered a make-your-own holiday wreath table in one corner of the room. Roxanne Bryant and her daughter, Jane, proudly held up their green and red creation just as I was arriving.

Customers stopping in included a mix of seasonal and year-round residents. Many of the seasonal residents bemoaned the fact that this would be their last trip to Chappy until warmer weather arrives. I am always a bit smug in these interactions, feeling inordinately lucky to be here for the best months of the year, when all is quiet and calm. Sometimes I wonder if those who are on-Island for only a few weeks in the summer realize what they are missing. It is those who linger a bit longer, or return for a late fall weekend, who see the true beauty of the off-season.

We may see our first snowfall tomorrow (I am writing this on Monday). The last few weeks, we have had some dismal, gray days and lots of rain. I am trying to feel grateful for all the rain, imagining the aquifer filling back up and preparing us for the inevitable future dry spell.

You may have noticed a BiodiversityWorks truck on Chappy lately. A few weeks ago this wildlife monitoring organization found a northern long-eared bat at Brines pond. These little bats are classified as an endangered species by the state of Massachusetts due to the presence of white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has decimated the bat population in recent years. Although the bat has a tracking device, it lost signal over the last week. BiodivesityWorks thinks this may be because the bat has crawled into a crawlspace or basement where it is difficult to pick up the signal. If you notice any bats at your home, please call them at 1-800-690-0993 or email them at info@biodiversityworksmv.org.

Shotgun season began Dec. 2 and continues until Dec. 14. This means that many of the Land Bank trails on Chappy are closed to the general public including the networks of trails at Brines Pond, Chappy Five Corners, Poucha Pond, and Quammox. All trails are open for walkers this Sunday, Dec. 8.