The calendar says it’s spring but as I write this, winter is taking us for one last dance. Thirty degrees at the end of March is a lot colder than thirty degrees in January. We’re almost out of this, thankfully, and there are cute animals being born to reassure us. Flat Point Farm has new baby lambs and some other farms have piglets.

The West Tisbury Town Report is available now, if you want to look it over before the town meeting on April 12. If you grab a copy at the West Tisbury Library, you can also peruse the selections on the Ted Cruz table, which apparently made a stir on the interwebs this week.

Happy birthday to Holly Wayman, who celebrated on March 28 at the Copper Wok with some friends.

The other day, while waiting in line to go into the thrift store, I overheard part of a conversation between two contractors. It was nothing we all haven’t heard a million times but I can’t stop thinking about it for some reason.

They were discussing the current state of things: the days are longer, we’re headed down the spring slide and everyone is hustling to finish their projects before the summer onslaught.

“They want everything done yesterday because the house is already booked up,” one of the men said. “And then you find out what they’re asking per week. It’s obscene.”

His colleague was nodding his head. “But they still want you to give them a deal.”

Of course, part of this is just the seasonal whine-fest; Islanders bonding over their shared burdens. Plenty of people here will stand around for hours talking about how busy they are; it’s therapeutic. But it’s not only what we say but the way we say it, and things just seem a little crazier this year. Everybody working in the engine room of vacationland seems to feel it.

This has long been a tourism-driven place, and that’s why we have such nice stuff, right? But the balance is out of whack. More short-term rentals and fewer year-round homes means that everybody will be left wanting, whether we need a quick takeout dinner, a doctor, or a roof overhead.

The “island shuffle,” which sounds like a kind of easygoing dance move, is a term I hardly ever hear anymore. Moving a couple of times a year is always wearing on body and spirit, especially with a family, but it used to be something we did in order to move up. It used to be temporary. It used to be possible.

Whole cities are on the move in other places, in terrifying circumstances, which certainly puts our plight in perspective. And it’s natural that things change and populations shift, like the wind and tides. Still, I’ve been wondering how many Islanders have slipped away over the past few years, not by choice but because they can’t afford to live here anymore. Many of us are teetering right on some edge or other. All it would take is a breakup, or a back injury, or a run of bad luck, and we’d be gone, too.

Eventually, the gentry will have to house their own help, like in the old days. There will be a gardener instead of a landscaping company and a live-in maid instead of a cleaning service. I like to joke that this is the real reason people are building all these “carriage houses.” But it’s not all that funny, is it? Not if you want your own home and family.

Another thing I haven’t been able to shake all week is this quote from Russell Banks, written in The Sweet Hereafter: “I’ve got nothing against outsiders per se, you understand. It’s just that you have to love a town before you can live in it right, and you have to live in it before you can love it right. Otherwise, you’re a parasite of sorts.”