The oppressive heat wave that has blanketed the Northeast in recent weeks finally broke on Wednesday night. A rush of cool air followed the razor edge of thunderstorms that lashed the rest of the state with hail, high winds and flooding in what has been reported as the most severe weather of the summer. Here the storms just brushed past the Island on their track from west to east, barely sprinkling the Island with much-needed rain.

Talk lately has been all about the weather, the wilting heat and dryness. Hayfields are crunchy with no immediate prospect of a second cutting. And the wildflowers of summer have been arriving early for their appointments all season long: already meadows are dotted with blazing orange butterfly weed, crayon-yellow black-eyed Susans and creamy white wild carrot, commonly known as Queen Anne’s lace. In backyard gardens, rose of Sharon, ordinarily not seen until August, has begun to unfurl in shades of deep pink and lavender, as if its ruffled blooms were an inspiration for the popular summer dresses seen on the streets on women of all ages this year.

For beachgoers, fishermen and sailors it has been, to this point, the summer we all dream about between New Year’s and Memorial Day. The fishing, from squid to bass, has been outstanding. Along the southern and eastern coastlines, the water has warmed agreeably with the cooler Vineyard Sound, as always, just a few weeks behind. And the breezes have come reliably from the southwest, maybe a little on the light side, but usually enough to fill just about any main and foresail and add a gratifying amount of pressure to a lee helm.

Taking stock at the almost-midpoint of the season, merchants and restaurateurs offer mixed reports. The sunshine and heat has discouraged some from pounding the sun-baked in-town sidewalks; others are happy to flee hot kitchens and rooms cooled only by ceiling fans for the relief of air-conditioned spaces.

Despite their parched fields, even farmers have reasons for cheer. On one of the hottest days of summer this week, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture paid a visit to the Island to tour several farms across the Vineyard. Over a midday lunch of soup and salad at Morning Glory Farm, Commissioner Greg Watson had high praise for the rapidly expanding small farm movement on the Island, calling it a model for the rest of the commonwealth. In particular Mr. Watson singled out the cooperative atmosphere among small farmers on the Vineyard as the key to this emerging success story. Later the same day at the Island slow food group potluck dinner, Oren Hesterman, an author and leader in the national sustainable agriculture movement, offered a big-picture perspective on small farming, speaking about a new fund set up to provide revolving loans for agricultural startups.

It’s nearly time for July visitors to take their last swims, pack the cars with dogs, children, beach stones and damp towels and head for the mainland. And nearly time for August people to crowd the ferries which are sold out for most of the month, bringing their high energy to the Vineyard, the place where they come to unwind, plunge in the ocean and wash away the urban grit and intellectual clutter.

With a fresh breeze blowing onto the Island, it’s time to catch our breath and get ready to make the most of the summer season’s second act.