by Rick Conti
As has been opined in previous posts, the Vineyard in the off-season carries its own rewards. One doesn’t have to wait for the peak season to appreciate its marvels. For example, except during winter’s most aggressive cold snaps, when the air itself seems frozen solid, making the winds feel as if they’re trying to strip the skin from your cheeks, a walk up North Water Street and down the narrow path to Edgartown Lighthouse is a brisk pleasure year-round.
Just the same, I anticipate spring at least as much as the crocuses do. Like those little bulbs, I spend much of the winter virtually underground. When their buds break through the earth’s crust, they are as desperate to find the signs of spring as I am. They don’t like cold and darkness any more than I do.
On the Vineyard, clues to the beginning of spring evidence themselves everywhere I look. And I’m looking hard indeed.
Island handymen (and women) and landscapers mobilize like a peaceful militia readying homes and businesses for summer’s onslaught.
The “see you in the spring” signs and wide expanses of paper sheets that have blocked store windows and doors for the past few months are dropping like over-sized autumn leaves as shops and restaurants pop open at random times and locations like the aforementioned bulbs. Some old reliables may not see the new season, but new possibilities always fill the void.
Each ferry from the mainland carries a few more vehicles and visitors than the previous one. The flow will increase exponentially until cooler heads and weather prevail several months from now.
Each day, the sun ascends earlier, stays aloft longer, and shines warmer. Illumination becomes not just one night in Oak Bluffs, but a spring-long celebration in the island sky. Fear of foul weather, palpable and constant as the tides, dissipates like a morning fog at South Beach under a July sun.
The air’s a little milder, the sea a little calmer. The fireplace yields to the deck as the preferred spot to read a book. April is imminent, not just a rumor.
So, take nothing for granted any time of year, but keep an eye out for those crocuses and look out for spring. It’s at the door. Open wide and welcome.