Spring Slips In

The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote about “spring coming slowly up this way,” and his words hold clear meaning on the Vineyard in early April. Raw winds cut across the faces of passengers disembarking from Steamship Authority ferries in Vineyard Haven; horses seek shelter in pastures in Chilmark and West Tisbury; Main street in Edgartown, splashed with late-afternoon sunshine, can be filled with eerie silence.

On an Island surrounded by cold ocean, the passing of the vernal equinox is known rather than felt. Harbingers such as pinkletinks and ospreys may be reported, but they are isolated bits of hopeful cheer in an otherwise chilly time.

Still, spring does arrive in its quiet way. Crocuses and daffodils pop out of the earth. Shopkeepers reappear inside long-dormant stores. Sunlight warms the shoulders, although a warm coat is still required. The sound of Red Sox play-by-play drifts into the air. The day draws near when Vineyarders no longer will say that spring is coming. They will say that spring is here.