Like the first ice cream cone of summer, June has been a month to savor this year. Sunny days so clear, it was as if you could touch the treeline when gazing across to the Elizabeth islands from the north shore. Cool nights perfect for sleeping beneath a cozy pile of quilts. Ponds and harbors brimming with squid, chased by bluefish and striped bass. The first fat spears of asparagus and sweet strawberries from Island farms. And night after night, a western sky streaked with orange and pink when the sun finally melted into the horizon well after eight o’clock.

For a few short weeks it has been almost possible to imagine there was no turmoil in the world – no horrific acts of terror, no political upheaval, no economic uncertainty. Just scattered squabbling among neighbors emerging after a long, wet winter and bone chilling spring.

Now July arrives, with its promise of heat, humidity, summer crowds and beach days, and of course long hours for the many hardworking Islanders who keep the place ticking twelve months of the year.

Independence Day is Monday, and the Island is dutifully donning its patriotic dress, as it has for generations. Flags are up in cemeteries and in town centers. Bunting hangs from picket fences. Window boxes on village houses are planted in hues of red, white and blue. Geraniums are the national flower of July, or so it would appear on the Island.

There will be picnics and beach outings large and small, culminating with the grand parade in Edgartown at the end of the day. With colorful floats of every description, marching bands, fire trucks, shiny antique cars, girl scouts, boy scouts and Jabberwocky campers, more than once it has been called the best little parade in America.

Later on as darkness descends, fireworks will shower the night sky over Edgartown harbor. The weather forecast at press time called for more of that June-like magic: sunny and hot.

We bask in the fine weather, attend to our annual rituals and celebrate the nation’s birthday without trying too hard to examine what it means to be American 240 years after the country’s birth.

Because while Martha’s Vineyard is not immune to the issues that occupy the rest of America — economic inequity, drug abuse, immigration and even security — it is also something else: a refuge from worry, a place where visitors come for the very purpose of putting those problems behind them for awhile.

What is it about the Island that attracts people? The answer, written long ago in the Gazette, is just as true today.

“Day by day they come, more and more of them, the summer migrants called by sea and open country, by shore, hill, and country sky. In a deep sense it is home that calls them, for the home of mankind is the place most remote from cities, the old domain of nature. Scientists, we remember, even maintain that the home of man is the sea itself; if not that, then an Island comes nearest.”

Summer rushes in. The swimming season begins; an unofficial survey finds the warmest water currently in Edgartown harbor, with the coldest on the north shore of West Tisbury. Blueberry pickers have a hopeful outlook. Camps for children are in full swing. Sailors are in their element.

The problems that plague America and the world will be there when the parade ends. For now, happy Fourth of July.