The wind came around this week, sending gray skies packing like so many sunburned travelers headed home. In the outer Vineyard Haven harbor late-summer sailors tacked around the chop, their graceful wooden sloops heeled over in the sound, angles of the sun slanting in all directions.

Cars could sail through the Five Corners intersection too, where traffic was suddenly light. Outgoing ferries are full these days; incoming you can suddenly get a reservation without sending up a little prayer to the gods of the Steamship Authority’s wait list.

Labor Day is Monday.

And as Martha’s Vineyard rounds the mark on yet another summer, Islanders are pausing to greet each other again and look back on a season now nearly gone by.

It went fast, most agree.

For vacationers, farmers and fishermen alike the weather was so-so, with more wind, rain and damp than usual, although the Island missed the extreme weather events that have ravaged other areas. Our sister communities in southern Vermont and western Massachusetts are still recovering from catastrophic flash floods in July.

More and more, the warning bells about a warming climate are all around us. Cyanobacteria blooms in several of our Great Ponds have become a regular event. Beech and pine forests are in trouble as new invasive organisms — the beech nematode and pine bark borer — threaten to upend the natural ecological balance of Island woodlands.

Farther away but still somehow close to home, the devastating midsummer wildfire that wreaked unimaginable havoc on Maui prompted renewed reminders on the Vineyard about the risk of fire in the tinder-laden, 5,000-acre Manuel Correllus State Forest. And just this week, as Hurricane Idalia slammed the Florida panhandle with winds topping 100 miles per hour, Islanders were reminded to stay prepared.

There was much to celebrate about summer too.

It kicked off with a festive, weekend-long Juneteenth celebration that highlighted our rich African American heritage. The Fourth of July arrived with parades large and small, picnics, sailing races and evening fireworks over the Edgartown harbor. August brought more well-loved traditions old and new: the Agricultural Fair in West Tisbury, the Chilmark Road Race, fireworks over Ocean Park, the Beach Road weekend concert series. The many galas and fundraisers that are so much a hallmark of summer saw an outpouring of generosity this year, especially for some of the Island’s most vital institutions.

There were uncomfortable reminders too of the how crowded the Vineyard has become. Traffic was as bad as ever in the usual hot spots and a few new ones as well. A house in a residential neighborhood in Edgartown, apparently bought solely for the purpose of hosting whiskey-tasting parties, angered neighbors and sent town officials scrambling for legal interpretation. Was it a zoning violation or a loophole exploited?

Either way, the controversy raised anew the question of how much more growth can be sustained. There are a lot more of us now, and we’re starting to bump up against each other in uncomfortable new ways.

As the Island makes the turn into fall, the urgency of addressing issues of density seems to slip away. But if Vineyarders want a voice in determining what the Island becomes, now is the time to tackle those hard questions.

Meanwhile, here comes Labor Day, a time to celebrate the end of summer, hug old friends and express deep gratitude to the many hard working people who keep the Island running — in summer and beyond.

Time to take a swim in the clear ocean water.

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