Sounds of spring on the Island: a low roar as a gust of wind sweeps through the woods, the chirping chorus of pinkletinks at dusk, the pop, pop, pop of a nail gun from a neighboring house.

On the cusp of April, these disparate noises combine in a familiar song of anticipation as the Island shakes off its winter doldrums.

It is so both the same and different every year, the shoulder-season rush to ready the Island for another busy summer. Last year, the lion's teeth of March were especially sharp, an adversary filled with snowstorms and a beleaguered Steamship Authority whose frequent breakdowns created concerns over whether the Island would indeed by ready for summer.

In terms of weather, this was the winter that wasn't, and ferries have been running fairly smoothly, with talk of setting a new management course at the Steamship Authority with new hires and more oversight.

But another feature of Island spring, contentiousness, seems as potent as ever.

Basketball has its March Madness, while the Vineyard has its March mutterings. Differences of opinion that seemed to hibernate for the winter have re-emerged with a vengeance. Tempers flame faster, along with misunderstandings. The off-season solitude of the Island has stretched too long by this time of year only to be cut short by the stress of preparing for another new season.

While some of the mutterings can be chalked up to the changing season, they are also the symptoms of deeper, almost intractable divisions about who we are as an Island and what we want to be.

Is the proposed new Woods Hole terminal an attractive design or out of character for the village? Is Vineyard Wind a needed step toward energy independence or a threat to marine life? Are plaques on a Civil War statue an unwelcome nod to a racist past or a part of history? Do we think our athletes deserve the consistency of artificial turf or do we believe our children are safer with natural grass?  Is the Wampanoag tribe's new bingo hall an exercise of sovereign rights or an insult to the Island community?

More broadly, a familiar refrain heard around the Island about a number of proposed and completed projects asks whether bigger really is better? And what is lost when new and shiny continues to replace traditional and historic as the new Island aesthetic?

According to advance reservations at the hotels and Steamship Authority bookings this summer will be another busy one. This is good news for the Island's economic engine, but the affordable housing shortage grows more dire every year as does the stress on the Island's infrastructure.

At town meetings this spring a proposed housing bank will be voted on, an idea that also has its supporters and opponents. Whatever the outcome at town meeting, the concept has given urgency to a long simmering issue: how does a seasonal resort manage its appetite for growth and summer revenue and at the same time make it affordable for its workforce and aging population.

Change is both inevitable and essential. The real question is how it will be managed.

The pop, pop, pop of the nail gun on a warm spring day signals a readiness for the next wave, of restoration and preparation. But beneath that new set of shingles are hard conversations that are getting more difficult to hide.