Art Basel returned with a force to Miami during the first week of December. Because the virus caused the cancellation of this uniquely creative fashion and artist extravaganza last year, strict health protocols were followed as thousands gathered. Vaccine check stations surrounded the perimeter of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Matching vaccination cards and ID cards yielded a yellow wrist band necessary for admission. Thousands entered with timed access periods. They were not disappointed.

The Vineyard was well represented in Miami by Reggie Browne, Winston and Carolyn Lowe, and Rob and Sabrina Williams. They are all members of the governance leadership of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia. For several years PAFA, under their aegis, has hosted in-depth lectures and panels on the latest trends in art collection and gallery exhibitions. They have focused in particular on the fast-growing collector interest in African-American art. Last August they hosted a spectacular exhibit and curators’ panel on the sprawling lawn at Featherstone, with art sprinkled generously in the Francine Kelly Gallery. It’s no wonder they came to this dynamic cornucopia of international art forms and genres in more than 253 galleries.

The Design District was a-glitter with a pop-up labyrinth celebrating the 100th birthday of Chanel No. 5. Vineyard regular Dorothy Terrell — now living in Miami Beach — shared her favorite art places including Perez Art Museum Miami, the Rubell Museum, El Espacio 23, N’Namdi Contemporary Fine Art and Hampton Art Lovers. Needless to say this experience, including the excitement at the Wynwood Art District in midtown Miami, hooked Kathy and me. We will certainly attend next year and hope you can join us.

The Oak Bluffs Library announces the return of its graphic novel book club starting on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Led by Carolina Cooney — a former history of comics instructor for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco — this weekly event is open to all. The first selection is The Old Geezers Vol. 1 by Wilfred Lupano and illustrated by Paul Cauuet. Check out the library website for more details.

Oak Bluffs is proud of its representation on the board of the Vineyard Preservation Trust. Trustees Shirley Hall, Debi Crews and Al Johnson are all in with Nevette Previd, the new executive director. Shirley has led the campaign to raise $45,000 to support the Flying Horses; Debi used her experience in retail operations to get Alley’s General Store open; and Al was on the search committee that landed Nevette.

In this time of uncertainty at many levels in our nation, I always reflect on the certainty that my experiences on the Vineyard provide for me. The landmarks, parks, Inkwell Beach, the Cottagers, the Polar Bears, Reliable, Back Door Donuts, and of course my Union Chapel, all center my spirit.

I wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season as we prepare for the new year!

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!