Winter tiptoed in this year, like a teen who stayed out too late and was careful to not wake a sleeping household.

Now January settles over the Vineyard, act one of the real winter season. And the rhythms of life change. Friends invite friends for cozy dinners and conversation. Over steaming beef stews and glasses of red wine, they catch up on children grown and otherwise, the holidays just past, winter plans that lie ahead.

There is reading to do, library lectures to attend, winter walks to take on conservation properties. There was too much leaf raking and not enough scalloping this fall. Winter oystering remains a prospect.

This week the Island wears a light dusting of snow. Minute by minute, there is more daylight. The wind off the water has turned bitter, inviting turned up collars, hats pulled low over ears and thick mittens. Temperatures bounce around, with a warming trend in the forecast for the weekend. No blizzards yet, no shoveling or plowing to speak of.

But that’s all still to come, in act two (February) and three (March).

For now, we savor the deep quiet of January days.