As the fickle weather glides from warm days to cool days and back again we are reminded of the late spring and early summer to come. This will be an unusual summer as the Island will be full of new full-time residents who came looking for a more secluded and relaxing escape from the virus, perhaps abandoning more dense locations. And the regular swell of summer residents that come annually will be joined by even more who want to finally just get away.

Construction is ongoing in many streets including Monroe, East Chop Drive, on Narragansett and Tuckernuck. The former Beetlebung and former Sarah Brown’s house on Circuit avenue is under total renovation. Rentals and sales are at a premium.

This summer will see a lot of modified behavior as we address the virus while at the same time trying to enjoy the full spirit of Island fun. The Union Chapel trustees are busy planning their postponed 150th celebration for the week of August 8-14. The new organ is fully installed and the minister of music, Bill Peek, is thrilled to begin practice sessions. The chapel will conduct services online and in-person this summer. All CDC and Massachusetts health protocols will be followed. Vice president, Dr. Aliya Browne, chairs the church health protocols committee which will soon publish requirements for attending in person.

The Island hospital is working hard to maximize vaccine capacity well before the summer swell. Vaccine availability will certainly be a pressing issue as the seasonal workers, summer residents and Covid migrants all converge.

But the anticipation surrounding the potential visits of Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Vice President Kamala Harris, congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Sen. Raphael Warnock is high. Newly minted Boston mayor, Kim Janey, has long family ties to Oak Bluffs and she too is expected to visit with her dear friend Joyce Ferriabough Bolling. The Boston chapter of Girlfriends, Inc. will be hosting their annual national luncheon in August. The 19th annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival will also be held August 6-14. The Boston Medical Center will also be hosting a forum on the latest research on the virus and other infectious diseases. Petrina Cherry and Dr. Thea James are hard at work on this new addition to the August standards.

As I think about the coming months my heart is saddened as I reflect on the loss of so many Vineyard giants. Vera Shorter, Nelson deBettencourt, John Alley, Vernon Jordan, Mildred Henderson, John Schule and Robyn Nash have left footprints in the sands of our minds and hearts. Let’s remember them as we reflect on A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it, as time is fleeting.