T.J. Hegarty accused me of being a political activist in the Vineyard Haven post office last week. Where did he get that idea? Here is the original . . . Mark Twain said, “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”

I have some beautiful perennial alyssum. It is the brightest yellow imaginable . . . right up there with dandelion flowers. I think it really kicks off late spring. I hope you summer people down for the holiday plant some at home as it will be gone when you return in June. The weather has been a bit uncooperative as is its custom here on the Vineyard in spring. The past several weekends have been chilly and rainy. You 9-to-5 workers must be getting a bit sour.

I have one lonely white Mount Tacoma double tulip. I know I planted 50 of them a decade ago. They never last. Stick with the Darwins or the May-flowering tulips if you want them to come back every year.

The Memorial Day holiday is a source of angst for many of those employed on the Island. Some summer people come down for the three days to see about their properties. There is a great flurry of activity with Murphy’s Law reigning supreme. When did we stop calling it Decoration Day?

It would be a good time to do some presumptive staking before some of the very tall begin to get out of control. Hopefully, the peony rings are in place now that they have fully budded.

I started some tuberous begonias on the propagating mat at least six weeks ago and they have finally emerged. Once they take off they are remarkable — absolutely jaw-dropping.

Thanks to Mary Vascellero for doing some Googling for me. We could not remember which French philosopher used the mind-your-own business metaphor of “Cultivate your own garden.” She found, of course, it was Voltaire’s Candide to Pangloss about the importance of returning to the farm. He encourages us to work without theorizing in order to make life endurable. My favorite concept is how work keeps at bay three evils: boredom, vice and need.

I have been following the horrific news of the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China. It certainly puts everything in perspective. I can be such a sissy . . . whining over a hangnail.

I have noticed a great number of turkey vultures in the past several years. That does not mean that they weren’t here before I noticed them. One year, during my Pennsylvania home visit, my brother gave me a deer hide needing to be cured. I hung it on my clothesline and noticed a black bird with a silver head interested in it. I knew it was not a turkey vulture. The late Arnold Brown came over with camera in hand. He excitedly explained it to be a black vulture, rare this far north. It used to be a southern bird but came north during the tragic event at Gettysburg and has been in Pennsylvania ever since.

Take a slow trip up Lambert’s Cove Road. The Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus on the wall at Tashmoo Farm are quite impressive, not to mention the lovely stand of miniature-flowered pale pink rhododendrons in front of Almeida Reed’s old house at the Northern Pines Road entrance. She told me that she planted them in the fifties. They did a nice job of pruning the lilac at the town line before lower Makoniky.

My daughter in law Janice loaned me the following. It is a postcard from the 1930s showing the view of Lake Tashmoo from the Overlook before a private landowner planted the willows that took away the view from the rest of us and our children . . .