Cold rain, mud and more rain. That’s been the story of the winter so far on the Vineyard, where stubbornly mild temperatures have kept winter whites at bay, leaving gray days to stretch on.

But already there are tiny harbingers of a new season. This week snowdrops bloomed beneath a white picket fence in Edgartown, while the rain splashed down, turning brick sidewalks shiny. Passersby ducked into a nearby coffee shop, one of the few places open at this time of year. Inside, hot soup and steamy lattes cheered the winter weary. In the stately town hall nearby, committee meetings were under way, the good citizens who keep government running all year long hunched over their minutes and spreadsheets.

And even on the dreariest days of winter, Island life has its charms. The light is stronger now, slanting through the windows of the old farmhouse at different angles in the late afternoon than just a month ago. There is new birdsong in the early mornings. The storm-tossed ocean has washed the beaches clean, depositing a rich wrackline of kelp and eelgrass studded with shells and tiny stones.

Will there be sea glass next summer? A distant grandson wonders.

And if summer dreaming is not enough, consider chocolate and flowers. After all, this is Valentine’s Day.