Two weeks ago, Chappaquiddick suddenly, unexpectedly and sadly lost one of our longtime year-round residents. Since his passing, I have been reflecting on the myriad ways Dick Knight has helped shape this island. He was one of those individuals who impacted many – sometimes visibly and sometimes in less obvious ways.

In his absence, I am now aware of the many ways that his life intertwined with my own. Dick was one of the guiding forces behind the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission during its inception in the 1980s and he was serving as a commissioner at the time of his passing. A vocal advocate for Chappaquddick, Dick helped to ensure that large swaths of land would remain in conservation, forever, with public walking trails crisscrossing the island. Some of that conservation land is now my farmland, leased affordably for agricultural production. Without this land, there would be no Slip Away Farm.

Dick built our house, tucked back in the woods on a dead-end road, in the 1980s. His initials are inscribed above our door.

When I first began Slip Away, his crew renovated the old Chappy schoolhouse, adding a porch onto what is now our farmstand. Over the years, he has cheered us on, lent us equipment, provided contacts and been a member of our CSA. He loved Collins’ barn, built last year, always quick to praise the workmanship, and he was pleased to see sheep in the front fields this spring.

My last image of Dick is this: it is the evening golden hour, warm, low sunlight and I am pulling out of the Slip Away driveway. Dick is on his bike. He gives me a big boyish grin and an exuberant wave, looking remarkably youthful and happy, as he pedals on down the road.

According to one count, around 700 quail were released on Chappy last week. The hope is that the quail will help with the increasing tick population. I have been noticing lots of the quails in our Wasque Farm field; their sweet little coos rise up from under dense growth and every now and then one pops out to scurry around in front of us. I have been finding a record number of ticks on me when I come home from the field, so I hope they are eating well out there.

The ferry lines have been particularly long lately, especially while the piping plovers were nesting along Norton Point, prohibiting cars from driving onto Chappy via the beach. Take advantage of the time waiting in a ferry line to stand in solidarity with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter Movement. From your smart phone you can:

  • Sign petitions: text ENOUGH to 55156 to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, text JUSTICE to 668366 to sign MoveOn’s petition for George Floyd.
  • Donate: National Bail Out, Innocence Project, Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund, Black Lives Matter, GoFundMe for Darnella Frazier.
  • Educate yourself: Follow @sonyareneetaylor, @rachel.cargle, @mireillecharper, @nowhitesaviors.

Plenty of other resources out there if you spend just a few minutes searching.

Lots happening at the CCC these days. Please visit their website for a listing of all upcoming events and dates. Lobster rolls, ice cream, yoga, Thai Chi, picnics and more.