Letter from the Vineyard 12 10 2021

Lusciously contemplating a winter of discontent…

A body of water with buildings along it

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The harbor at Vineyard Haven, 12 09 2021, photo by MJT

Letter from the Vineyard 12 09 2021

Lusciously contemplating a winter of discontent…

It has been a luscious day of getting errands run, a flu shot obtained, laundry picked up, a lazy brunch at the Little House Café on State Road, a haircut, returning to the smell of a pot roast slowly cooking in the Dutch Oven presented to me by my brother and sister-in-law as a house warming present, sitting on the living room sofa, lapping up back issues of the Vineyard Gazette and MV Times which had piled up while too busy doing other things.  A day away from the bookstore, well spent.

It has been a time since I’ve written a letter, a period filled with events, packed with passages.  It appears I am here, probably for the duration.  The housewarming present was triggered by my purchase of a home on the Vineyard, not too far from the bookstore, especially in the off-season months [we’ll see how navigating the Triangle goes come summer].  It is a Vineyard Saltbox, two bedrooms, two baths, an office, a basement, a great room that hosts the living room, dining, and kitchen areas, a loft space destined to hold my books, nestled back from a little dirt road, hidden a bit from the world – I can look out my windows, see no one else.  Outside the front window is a holly bush, the largest I recall.  I am at home.

Since last I wrote, the house was purchased, I had cataract surgery on my left eye [the right one was done 5 years ago], moved into the house [with relative ease as I purchased it furnished] had Thanksgiving at the Keene Farm, the miracle of a place crafted by my friend Larry, hosted in the loft space above one of the barns, splendidly prepped and served by Lizzy, Larry’s daughter, surrounded by the core group with whom I have had Thanksgiving for most of the last twenty years. It felt sweet.

In a necessary nod to the times, heading into another Covid winter, we all took quick result Covid tests before joining the festivities.  We were all negative.  If it had been different, it would be “you are welcome but not allowed” The stakes were too high with at least two guests immunocompromised. 

This flurry of events would be enough to cause a pause in my exegesis of life though that wasn’t all of it.  

My weariness and wariness of the world has grown since last I wrote, finding myself worn by the last five years, saying last night to my friend Michael, a high school friend whose renewal of our friendship as we march through our third acts has brightened my life, that I am more troubled by events in the body politic since the Viet Nam era.

At the store one day, I picked up Jill Lepore’s “These Truths: A History of the United States,” a work to help me find context for what is happening, not to mention our history has had a share of would-be despots [Andrew Jackson comes to mind].  I desperately need context to hold on to hope we will navigate this divide, feeling as if I am sometimes watching our democracy fray in front of my eyes.

Not to mention we are living through a pandemic, witnessing the relentless effects of climate change, while Russia is massing troops at Ukraine’s borders, as China is determined to be a nuclear power while practicing genocide against the Uyghurs, silencing a leading female sports star for exposing sexual assault by a Communist Party leader, relentlessly attempting to control virtually every act of its populace.

“Now is the winter of our discontent” opens Shakespeare’s RICHARD III, an allusion to a temporary state before a restoration of peace and joy.  

This feels like the winter of my discontent, a restless, wary, worried feel about the drift of events happening not just here but everywhere, with hope it is just a transitory state as we work our way to the spring of our hope, struggling to find equilibrium.  It is what I will pray for come Sunday, and every day while I still live, sensing it will take longer than I have this side of paradise to work through all this.

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