I don’t know, quite frankly, why summer people don’t genuinely value us year-rounders more. How would they like it if no one remained, and if they returned to the Island every May or June, only to find aged oaks fallen like dead Brobdingnagians across the roads, whole neighborhoods lost to fire and mouse poop everywhere?

What about keeping those ferry boats running? Wouldn’t they get rusty and clanky without continuous usage? And the street lamps? If somebody just clicked off the master switch every fall, do we really think the lights would come back on again — presto! change-go! — in the spring? Not hardly.

You know they don’t value us because they never express their appreciation. And the minute they’re back here, they’re so darned territorial. You can imagine them right this moment, holed up in Poughkeepsie, Urbana and Chattanooga, wondering who’s sticking a toe on their land.

I thought of that this morning during a walk with my dog through the southern wilderness of the Camp Ground. This is the part of the historic 20 acres where a few empty fields and woods arise, perhaps because the original trustees thought new pilgrims would keep coming and buying up tiny lots, whereas in reality the salvation business, camp-meeting-style, lost its steam in the 1880s, 1890s.

Just FYI, a kitchen table lamp light shines here and there throughout the winter Camp Ground, but for the most part you can hear a hibernating raccoon snoring from a 50-yard distance. So it was this morning that Huxley and I loped across deserted yards and even, occasionally, through backdoor gardens, even sometimes risking decapitation when we marched straight into forgotten laundry lines.

It’s an Islander’s abiding bonus during the off-season that she or he can go where no woman or man dare venture in the middle of August.

Oh, so you own the deed to a cliff and 38 wooden steps down to Lucy Vincent Beach, and in the summer you station a college kid at the top, with dark shades and sunscreen, to chase off trespassers? Well, guess who’s using that staircase now!

In actuality, there are so few of us on the res at this time of the year that, were folks to set up video cams on deserted MV properties, they’d watch a lot of tape of random deer and black twiggy shrubs blowing in 15-degree breezes.

But here’s what I remembered this morning as Hux and I scampered across a wide, frozen lawn alongside a house bordered by ancient woods in the middle of town. Last summer I had my dog, naturally, on a leash, and we passed this same house, keeping strictly to the paved road. From yards away, a thumpish young pit-Lab mix approached, also leashed, and the two dogs humphed at each other in that way that dogs have of expressing utter indignation that this other creature even thinks it has a right to co-exist in the canine universe that harbors itself.

I knew the indications, that no amount of U.N. troops or peace treaties would allow these two dogs to touch noses and hind quarters without some frightening growls and maybe a couple of barks. Accordingly, I backed Huxley up onto the wooded fringe of the nearby cottage property, roughly 12 feet from the road.

“May I help you?” I heard at my back, a woman’s voice directed at me from a porch some 30 yards away.

“May I help you?” has to be one of the biggest euphemisms in the English language. On the surface it means, “May I get you something cold to drink?” and the natural answer is a pleased, “Why, sure, I’d love a margarita if you’ve got your blender handy!” But of course, “May I help you?” uttered during the summer on Martha’s Vineyard means, “I’m 10 seconds away from calling the cops or blasting you with my shotgun if you don’t get off my property.”

This particular incident ended well. I turned to the woman and explained with an abashed laugh that I was keeping this dog away from that dog. It must have been the face-to-face exchange, and maybe she recognized me from Post Office Square, but she ended up laughing and even apologizing!

However, I’m not so certain this nice lady would have been happy at the sight of me and my pooch this morning circling around back of her house, past her shed and outdoor shower, and ascertaining that her herb garden was now officially kaput. My friend Nancy Merjos’s yard, also in the Camp Ground, is still putting out flat-leaf Italian parsley! (Thank you, Nancy! It was delicious the other night with spinach, roasted red peppers and a full tablespoon of dried marjoram!)

But don’t worry, anybody reading this who happens to live off-Island! If any of us intrepid winter explorers were to come across a water leak or a dead grizzly bear, we’d call it in pronto! That’s why you appreciate us so much at this time of year!

It’s not too late to register for Adult and Community Education classes. Just glancing at the list, I couldn’t help noticing great additions, such as the French cooking class cosponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and taught by Amandine Surier. For more info log on to acemv.org or call director Lynn Ditchfield at 774-310-1131.

I don’t have all the details yet, but the first Tibetan baby was born in Oak Bluffs last week. To see the splendid child in person, drop in at Glimpse of Tibet on Circuit avenue whenever the shop is open.

Beaucoup library news! The Dr. Who event will take place Saturday, Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with videos, trivia games, nibbles and crafts. If you’re already a Dr. Who aficionado you’ll need no further enticement.

Also at the library, the winter jigsaw puzzle is set up and waiting for addictive souls to put the pieces together. The scene is of a New Hampshire frozen pond and field or — hey! maybe it’s the Manhattan skyline; we won’t know for certain until it’s completely configured.

For the past six years that the new O.B. library has been in operation, every single gol’darn Wednesday Tony’s Market has donated coffee and pastries for the 10 to 11:30 a.m. social.

I love this place!