|The wind kicks up.|
In the house where I am staying, there is a framed poster of Martha’s Vineyard. Completed in 1984 by Dana Gaines, it is a favorite of mine. So much so in fact, that when my husband and I wanted to give our daughter a house-warming gift for her first solo apartment, it was what we chose. The local storeowner seemed a bit sad when she wrapped the framed print for me. She said it was her last one and she didn’t believe she would be able to replace it. Around the map of the Island, written in precise architectural lettering are brief descriptive passages about some of the most famous, endearing, common and unique places on the Island. In addition, the artist's rendition of the map includes many of the definitions of the Native American words that we use so frequently here that we have lost track of their origin.
Pocha - where there is a breaking in
Katama - crab-fishing ground
Chappaquiddick - the separated island
Wequobsque - at the ending rock
Squibnocket - place where the red ground nut grows
Menemsha - the observation tree
Tashmoo - at the great spring
Sengekontacket - at the bursting forth of the tidal stream
CaPoag - A refuge or haven
What I have come to see is that anything worth observing seemed worthy of naming in the ancient traditions of Native Americans.
As I sit, hunkered down in this snug little cottage with a view on a windswept world, I see the outside edge of a large weather system advancing on the Island. Earlier in the day, I took a ride to check out the surf and the beaches. I had the good fortune to watch a competition of kite-boarders perform speed and aerial events. My camera could take only so much of the rain and the sea spray. The rest had to be recorded in my memories. As I drove home, I slowed down to watch the force of great waves breaking over the sea wall along the Vineyard Sound. An SUV had parked directly under the wall, and, as in a car-wash, it was being subjected to a battery of water and salt with each grand eruption of a wave. Each wave carried with it heavy loads of sand, in effect, depositing it on the road. A couple more days of accumulation could block traffic completely. I have seen that happen on numerous occasions. The road department brings a small backhoe to undue nature’s handiwork. It was in that moment of quiet reflection that I caught myself in a vocal guffaw.
There’s a reason this storm is called Hurricane Sandy.