By 5:30 p.m. on a midwinter evening, the traffic into and out of Vineyard Haven had thinned; there wasn’t much anyway, the whole day had been blustery, with snow squalls off and on. No strollers and not many shoppers. The stores got ready to close, and people hurried about their business, finishing errands, getting to their cars and leaving town. It was dusk, and snowy, with just a tiny bit of pink sunset showing through the black clouds in the west. Red sky at night sailor’s delight; maybe the weather would be clearing tomorrow.
I was driving past the Mansion House and then to the turn on to State Road going up-Island, and wondering if I had time to go into the gallery which is on the corner across from the bank, when suddenly there it was before me and the glow of the carpets within shining through the windows was stunning. I was past it before I could take it all in, so I drove around the block and came back again, this time parking across the street.
For several weeks there has been a display of Persian rugs in the former Belushi-Pisano gallery, which I had heard of and meant to see, passing the gallery daily, and catching glimpses of the rooms filled with carpets. But on this evening, glowing through the dark, the light falling across the snow and the black trees framing it all around, it was a fine sight. It looked like one of the little Christmas houses we used to hang on our tree, the light showing out of the tiny windows and falling on the tinsel around it. The rugs are displayed to excellent advantage; I have been back three times now, learning a little more each time about these pieces, an engrossing and far-reaching subject, and wondering how, in such a disrupted world, can traditions and methods of work such as this can continue to thrive. I wander about from room to room, picking my favorite six, but no, here are six more! The kid in the candy shop and I can never choose. But, always, it’s about the colors for me.
I’ve always loved Oriental rugs, and have a few treasured ones, getting threadbare and faded over the years. There are people who cover up their treasures, so the colors won’t fade, never seeing them except to sweep and dust. I had an aunt like that. Her beautiful Chinese carpets always seemed to be covered with towels and sheets — after she had combed out the fringes. She didn’t get to see them, but I guess I am the beneficiary, for I have several of the small ones; we all love them, but mostly the cats, and whoever tried to stop a cat from sitting in a favored place? They are getting worn, and faded . . . and used with pleasure.
The town has emptied of cars and the dark streets are restful; the light coming from peoples’ homes is warming and peaceful. The gallery is inviting. It is a winter scene to savor.
Hopefully this amazing collection will continue to be seen on the Vineyard, and into the summer season. And for now, in our quiet town, this display is a gift, and we thank Anna Edey for sharing it with us.