Summer came to an end yesterday, its departure mourned by many, heralded by a few. Most vacationers are gone, kayaks strapped to the tops of their cars, bicycles attached to the car back fenders. Yellow buses are trundling students back to school. Shopkeepers and restaurants either have cut back on their hours or soon will. It is quieter now on Island roads. Fewer sirens pierce the air. Birdsong is more easily heard. So, too, are he whispering of tree leaves and the soughing of pines. The wild turkeys are out boldly strutting. There is the fragrance of wild grapes in the up-Island air. Of course there are derby fishermen on the beaches, but the swimmers are few and it is possible now to be the sole stroller along a shore. Big off-Island tour buses are bringing travelers for a day to see autumn on the Island, but there begins again to be a sense of sanctuary and peace on the Vineyard after the profitable, but frenetic days of summer.
The romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote of the English autumn long ago: “There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, Which thro’ the summer is not heard or seen.”
The Vineyard is now ready to enjoy that same precious autumn harmony.