For nearly two years, my commute to work consisted of a short walk down Edgartown’s streets to the Vineyard Gazette office. Door to door, it was maybe five minutes, but that didn’t stop me from being late to work almost every day.

For three months out of the year, I weaved between tourists and their strollers and their dogs — one time it was a dog in a stroller.

Some visitors walked in the middle of the road, their eyes gazing up at the historic, Greek revival homes on either side of the asphalt, their heads turning occasionally to their partners to comment on the roses, or the hydrangeas, or how mild the heat was compared to back home.

I also passed seasonal residents who, over time, began to recognize my face and sometimes even my name. We would nod on the sidewalk while they watered their roses or exchange a tight, New England “Hello,” which also doubles as “Goodbye.”

I learned the names, breeds and genders of their dogs. Some of them even claimed to have read my bylines in the Gazette, which was very nice of them to say.

But for at least six months out of the year, give or take a few holiday weekends, I walked by empty houses. The only people I encountered were workmen or landscapers who pulled up in convoys of large, white work vans to dutifully maintain each window box, shingle and clapboard until summer. We spoke a little, but I often scurried by quickly to avoid the spray of sawdust or grass clippings.

Come November, even the greenery had been stowed away, swaddled in burlap until the advent of spring. With nothing else to look at, I became very interested in the ground. I grew up in Texas where the ground (almost) never froze. My mother, a fastidious gardener, planted tulips each spring and threw away the spent bulbs in the fall. Now living on-Island, she recently learned tulips are perennials.

Over time, I watched other people’s front lawns turn from lush green to sickly chartreuse to a pallid blond. I watched the ground seize up from under me and then, as temperatures warmed, relax again. Not long ago, I watched small, verdant shoots poke up from the dirt and I saw snowdrops emerge as if overnight.

Like many Vineyarders in the throes of a long winter, I tied my mental well-being to the daffodils. Privy to only a year-round audience, their trumpet-shaped faces heralded spring, a season I have learned in New England means patience more than hope.

I looked for telltale stalks and pops of butter yellow in the dirt. Once they arrived, I admired how they bloomed fully and wildly on the wrong sides of fences, having naturalized long before their current homeowners moved in.

Last year, after our first Island winter, my mom, also undeterred by fences, visited neighbor’s yards to clip sunny bouquets for herself. Placing her bounty into a vase, she declared to no one in particular: “We deserve this. We survived!”

My Gazette co-worker did the same on his lunch breaks, returning from the empty streets of Edgartown with a fistful of flowers, along with the faint smell of cigarettes.

As a newcomer, I think the appeal of daffodils was not that they signified summer would be coming soon, but that they signaled to Islanders that they had just more season to themselves.

I missed the daffodils this year, having returned to Texas for the next chapter in my journalism career. In Houston the warm weather arrives promptly by mid-February and the only yellow in springtime comes in the thick sheets of oak pollen that blanket car hoods and windshields. When I drive to work, I miss the dogs and the strollers and even the tourists that walk in the middle of the road.

Most of all, I miss the errant rows of yellow and white that burst forth from the unkempt gardens of empty houses.

Soon the landscaping trucks will return to prep the front lawns for their summer visitors, stuffing window boxes full of pansies and unwrapping the hydrangea bushes for their peak season in July and August.

The daffodils will be gone by then, but I know they will return.

For the past two years, Brooke Kushwaha worked as a reporter for the Vineyard Gazette and editor for the Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. She recently took a job with the Houston Chronicle, as a reporter in their digital newsroom.