There is nothing to say about Henri except that we went into the weekend nicely stocked, which meant no more trips to the grocery store for several days, and that is happiness.

The water is warm in August, but sometimes you are surprised by an icy current while floating in the salty balm. It’s as though a thread runs down from the Arctic, encircles your legs with the reminder of winter, and then just as suddenly lets you go.

That is how the world feels to me at this moment: it is as if we are dog-paddling through our daily lives above a swift, cold undercurrent of wrongness.

A great remedy for worry is service, and lately there are signs everywhere that service is much needed. I’m not just talking about the Help Wanteds, although plenty of businesses are understaffed and seem strained to the breaking point. But there are other, usually unpaid, jobs that need doing.

For the first time, I signed up to sell tickets at the Agricultural Fair on Thursday and Friday night. Putting on the Fair is a slog, requiring a corps of seasoned veterans and a vast army of volunteers. I don’t pretend to have grasped the subtleties of the whole operation after running credit cards for a few hours, but I have eyes, and the exhaustion among the veterans was obvious. There was definitely a sense that too few people were doing far too much, even beyond the extraordinary effort expended in years past.

My takeaway was that the Fair needs more of us, and it needs our children.

A big email went out this week across the Martha’s Vineyard United Recreational Soccer League community from Richard Bennett, who has steered that good program with wisdom, patience and boundless energy. This year, he needs more people to step up: coaches, team managers and adults willing to assemble equipment and line the greens and do all the tasks that make the thing go.

Along the same lines, our own West Tisbury School PTO floundered last year, between the crazy-making coronavirus and the lack of parent participation. It turns out that for these wonderful ice cream socials and fundraisers and community-building gatherings to happen, we can’t just leave it to a few selfless people year after year after year.

Am I just a romantic or did we once have more time for this stuff? What has changed? Are we all under water with work and family obligations in order to survive in this beautiful, expensive, demanding place? Are we making the world beautiful in our own private ways, surely a noble endeavor as well? Are we busily “raising awareness” on Facebook?

If this sounds like a lecture, forget it: there is a season for all things. But for anyone who is on the fence about whether to run for something, or coach a soccer team, or put in a few hours at a nonprofit...all I can tell you is that my shifts at the Fair were cheerful and lifted me above the cold current for quite a while.

Our hearts are with the many loved ones of Dorothy Gregory, who died last week. She was my mother’s good friend and a fellow member of the island’s oldest book group. We like the whole family a lot and wish them strength. They already have strength in spades, of course, but may they find it easily when they need it.