My favorite season has arrived again and this year with a pleasing vengeance. Not only did a powdery snow herald the New Year’s Eve weekend, but cold temperatures assured that the snow would stay awhile. And so it has. It still frosts up-Island stone walls and brightens fields. Snow buds continue to decorate those evergreens and hollies that stand in sheltered places. Animal tracks are everywhere, inviting identification. I have found rabbit tracks and the marks of deer hooves. I have consulted my field guide to animal tracks and Gus Ben David for less easily identifiable tracks in the snow.

Two long, thin lines side by side, Gus tells me, were probably made by hungry skunks, waking up after a mini-siesta. Skunks do not go into lengthy hibernation, but may stay in a cozy place for awhile and snooze, but when they hungrily awake, they emerge and go foraging, Gus says. Since I have an open compost heap, summer and winter, it is likely that the lines I have seen in the snow means they have awakened and been out and about. And of course there are turkey tracks everywhere.

I quite like finding tracks in the snow on winter walks. There are rarely other people out, particularly on cold winter days, but animal tracks somehow, provide a sense of comradeship.

If I am not examining tracks on a snow walk, I am likely to be looking skyward where the bare limbs of the deciduous trees seem to be at work sketching in the sky.

Time was when I would set off into the woods on cold snowy days. I am less inclined to do that now that I am an octogenarian. But fields are a different matter, and even West Tisbury roads invite in winter as soon as the morning rush of workers has passed. I can walk a mile on Music street and the Panhandle and no more than two or three cars will pass. Sometimes drivers will thoughtfully stop and ask if I would like a ride. For safety’s sake now, I carry a cane with a spike on it in case I come to icy places. I’m sure the cane helps invite the drivers’ concern.

I suppose my affection for winter comes from the fact that most of the winters in my life have been spent in cold and snowy places — the Vineyard, New Hampshire, western Massachusetts, Switzerland.

In each of these places, there were different wintry sights to see. In New Hampshire, the a mile-long walk to school took me across a hill that in spring would be filled with tiny wild strawberries, but in winter was simply piled high with snow. There was never a path shoveled through it. Trekking through it woke me up for classes at Robinson Female Seminary. Once a private school, it was founded according to a plaque, “For the Sole and Only Instruction of Females, Always Giving Preference to the Poor and the Orphan.” But it had run out if money and become a public school.

In East Northfield there were more sedate walks. There, my walk from the Northfield School into town was on a sidewalk, but there was always snow to squeak or crunch through before I arrived at the handful of stores in town. I think in addition to the snow there must have been hot chocolate or some similar steamy, hot confection to lure me there.

In Switzerland, my snowy walks were along Lake Leman in Geneva. At a chalet in the mountains above the lake, Mary Shelley had written Frankenstein, and on cold, gray days, I could see why. But the lake itself, where ducks and swans swam summer and winter, charmed in winter as well as in the warm seasons.

These cold, snowy West Tisbury days have renewed my joy of winter.