Winter Break

If you are the parent of a Vineyard school child, chances are you won’t be reading this because you are gone.

February vacation begins today for Island public schools and with it begins the quietest week of the year. Government meetings will be either scarce or canceled altogether for lack of quorums. Roadways will be empty of cars during what passes for early morning rush hour on the Island, especially in the corridor that leads to the regional high school. Gulls will reclaim the roads as their own, dropping shellfish onto cold macadam from high above, the natural world’s version of a raw bar.

Ferries will be full, loaded with Islanders as vacationers, headed north for the ski slope, south for some sun and sand, or perhaps to Boston or New York city for a change of scenery and healthy dose of urban culture.

This is the time for Islanders, many of whom work straight through the summer months without a break, to get away.

We wish them well and safe travels.

And for those who are left behind, this is a fine time to enjoy the Island at its emptiest, to find a coffee and a newspaper downtown, to walk woodland trails littered with leaves and downed branches from winter storms, to stroll solitary beaches washed by powerful ocean waves, as daylight grows stronger and snowdrops begin to bloom, lifting spirits.