The relentless wind that has battered the Island for months finally eased up early this week. Overnight temperatures fell, and by Wednesday morning a light frost had settled over the up-Island hayfields that are now so lush and green. By the time the sun was fully up, the frost was gone.

May is nearly gone now too, in a spring that that has seen its usual spate of changeable weather on an Island seven miles out to sea: chilly and blustery, nonstop sunshine and not enough rain, sending farmers and gardeners scrambling to keep things watered. A fine coating of pollen covers Island houses and cars. With lilacs already past their prime, the natural world is suddenly a riot of white: old-fashioned bridalwreath spills into hedgerows, lily of the valley grows in great profusion and cow parsnip is making an appearance in grassy swales along roadsides. Many Islanders have embraced No Mow May this year, choosing to leave their lawns uncut and strewn with violets, buttercups and sorrel. This small gift for pollinators has been pretty as well.

The familiar sights and sounds of a new season are all around. Painters are up on ladders putting fresh coats on the trim of old farmhouses. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners have thrown open their doors to the chilly spring air. Fishermen line jetties along the north side of the Island making the first casts for stripers. Downtowns are sporting new sidewalks and fresh flowers in window boxes.

Memorial Day is Monday, and the three-day weekend tolls the unofficial start to summer. For the next few months, the Island belongs to its seasonal homeowners and vacationers, while the many Islanders who make their living from the resort economy become servants to it.

That relationship has grown more fragile in recent years amid a worsening housing crisis and the resulting labor shortage. Returning visitors can expect higher prices, shorter hours and longer lines at restaurants and shops as businesses struggle to meet a growing demand with fewer workers.

The winter has brought other changes too. The long-delayed expansion of Stop & Shop in Edgartown is underway, promising more parking and a bigger store when construction is completed later this year. Along the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, a tangle of woods has been cleared to build the 66-bed Navigator Homes nursing home facility that will also create housing for hospital staff. On Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, huge metal pilings to underpin a warehouse herald the coming of Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.

Despite the stratospheric price of real estate, all across the Island new houses have sprung up and others have been enlarged, evidence of a growing wealth gap. Homelessness and food insecurity are realities for many, a shameful circumstance on an Island of plenty.

And yet despite all the change and worry there’s a perennial hopefulness about this time of year that’s infectious, an echo perhaps heard around every New England resort community.

The national holiday is also a time of solemn remembrance, and the Vineyard will mark the day with its own unique traditions. On Monday the veterans of Martha’s Vineyard will hold a ceremony at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven. On Friday, school children in Edgartown, Tisbury and Chilmark make their annual marches to the sea. This year when we watch the children throw flowers in the water to remember those lost defending our country, we will again remember the war in Ukraine and its unspeakable atrocities in an unsettled world.

Happy Memorial Day to all the Gazette readers near and far. Please stay safe on Island roads and remember not to drink and drive.