I’m a driver but I like the idea of driving more than the act itself. In fact, the car doesn’t even have to be moving, just parked on a dusty road beside a makeshift mailbox is fine with me.

If I do need to drive, I like short distances. My sweet spot is about 10 miles, perhaps to Aquinnah to gape at the beauty. I don’t need drama — give me a snowflake, a fountain soda and and an endless horizon and my day is made.

But I love being in a car. Ever since I got my license, it has been my office, scapegoat, therapist and blankie. I’ve made all my major life decisions in my car. I made my decision to move to the Vineyard in my car, long before I even knew the Vineyard existed.

It was also where I did my best imagining, about different lives, all of them perfect, unlike my own. I drove through neighborhoods imagining tidy little spaces where the husband was always whistling, while the wife refilled the bird feeder. If it was the holidays, everyone would be caroling in matching sweaters. They knew where they kept their waffle maker and had sensible haircuts. It was always snowing in these scenarios, even in July.

My life was falling apart in my car, not to mention my marriage, but outside my car, I was sure everyone had it all figured out.

Fast forward 7,300 nights. I’m remarried, my kids are grown and my new husband, the professor, and I, moved to the Island.

New life. New world. New England. Everything is new, including my reality versus my expectations. Or so I thought. I thought living on an island in New England would be like living in a snow globe each winter. Just shake, dance and delight in all the sparkles. I may have moved here for love, but I planned to stay for the snow. Well, snow and littlenecks.

And I was prepared. My tires had been rotated. I had heated seats. I’d spent $40 with my discount on an ice scraper. And yet, after 20 months of living here I had yet to see any snow.

Every now and then, however, the universe I call God throws you a bone. I was ringing up a customer and there was math involved. This required my full concentration, and that of my coworkers. It was early morning — two weeks before Christmas, and something was brewing, I felt it in my bones.

I felt like I did on days in school when the teacher had a movie projector set up. It started slowly, and then the sky opened and flakes, large as moons fell, swirled and danced. The office closed at noon because of the forecast of ice, a rare sweetness. I put on mittens, an alpaca hat and went outside.

I was ebullient, a word I’d never say out loud. I drove home the long way, way out of the way long way. I drove along North Road, a road given to canopied trees, pastures and perfect little stone fences leading to a little fishing village. The tree limbs were outstretched, sheathed in ice, with the snow now sleepily falling like feathers.

I drove carefully, but I knew the road. I knew the cow low in the valley, the sheep on the hill, the little blue shack at the end of the road. I knew the quiet of the falling snow. I thought about hearths and homes, about being a winter person. How I was confident I was the only soul who moved to the Vineyard for this time of year. I’m almost certain Dan Fogelberg was playing on my radio — something sad and longing and familiar. And beautiful.

I know the sound of longing. It’s simple, pared down and fleeting — like a memory. It disappears on my finger like a snowflake.

This was my before, my snow globe — the life I’ve chased for as long as I can remember. This was the way I imagined it could be — only now it was real.

Robyn Goodwin lives in Vineyard Haven.