I once thought that crocuses were a true sign of spring. If not crocuses then I could certainly rely on the calendar, the equinox on March 20-21. Nevertheless, on March 13, while spring was still rehearsing her glorious entrance, I was informed about the true nature of the end of frigid temperatures and mounds of ice and snow. I witnessed Martha’s Vineyard spring ritual. One would think that this ceremony was infused with nature. On this island, nature is a way of being.
My heart opened on that special day when I espied a child who couldn’t have been living for more than 5 years furiously pedaling on a state bike path. Determined, smiling and focused to get to her holy grail, she is quickly followed by children of every persuasion, of all ages, size, each resolute to reach their nectar of life. The parade had begun. And just where could these children of destiny yearn to be? Dairy Queen. Yes! Dairy Queen or otherwise known amongst the intelligentsia – DQ! The local DQ had unveiled her elegance for the first time since frost began appearing on rooftops the previous fall.
Spring observed. Flying from her pirouettes came one of the first warm days of the season. She was anxious to grace DQ day with her charm.
On that special day, I took a bus home to Edgartown, the town in which DQ is firmly ensconced. Soon another piece of my education would be bestowed upon my amused brow. I kept hearing the word “ditch” whispered throughout the crowded transport. It seems that students on this island never “cut” class, but rather “ditch” school. Somehow, ditch seems much more direct, adorned in integrity. Indeed, there were many scholars ditching their school that afternoon. As a group of “ditchers” got off the bus in front of their beloved sanctuary, their lungs exhaled with glee to the bus driver, “we love you!”
They pedaled, rode, walked, ran and even ferried from Chappaquiddick to arrive at their pleasure – DQ. When I pass Dairy Queen I see that there are lines of human beings of all ages lined up forming several circles around the revered site. Many genuflect. Ok, maybe not. But from the looks of ecstasy on each and every visage, I am sure that if they had the room, all would kneel before the modest building with the illustrious logo in the window. Dairy Queen to the youth of Martha’s Vineyard is what the Wailing Wall is to my tribe. It is a prayer. It is an awakening. When DQ opens, everyone is assured that soon they will be able to stow away their winter gear until the next shock of ice.
However, arriving at their fate is not the final act. When I drive out of town, I note many children on their bikes feverishly pedaling home with their telltale DQ bag(s) dangling off of their handlebars. Faces chiseled in bliss, this is their treasure for the week, to be savored slowly. Leisurely or not, the contents of those white paper bags will be joyously devoured. No matter how many cold days remain or nights of snow piling in the front and back yards accumulate, we denizens of the Vineyard are jubilant. DQ has arrived!
And although the powerful take up residence here in each season of light when Apollo majestically rules, this Island maintains its innocence and, most importantly, enthusiasm for a soft ice cream cone’s first appearance on the Vineyard stage.
Alas, the world spins on its axis.
Submit Your Own Article