Here we are in a new year. I think most of us were happy to say goodbye to 2020, and so the transition felt particularly poignant. I could not help but feel relief and a spark of hope as we turned our sights to what lies ahead.

For New Year’s Eve, Juna, Ian and I put on our finest attire (we have had far too many pajamas-all-day kind of days lately) and had a good dance party. The cat and dog looked on as we twirled around the living room, swaying hips, stomping feet, singing loudly. We feasted on fried chicken for dinner, followed by chocolate chip cookies for dessert. The whole party was over by 9:30, and with kisses and “Happy New Year’s” we tucked into bed, eager for the dawn of 2021.

Ian said he heard a few fireworks at midnight, but all was pretty quiet out here on Chappy.

New Year’s Day found us at Hickory Cove on Cape Poge Bay. We walked along the shore with Juna trailing behind, singing to herself and every now and then squawking out to us to wait up. Usually on our walks she likes to ride in the backpack on her dad’s back, but this morning each attempt to get her into the pack was met with resistance. She wanted to be on her own two feet this New Year’s Day.

As we walked, Juna started to move slower and slower, the gap between us widening. I finally glanced back and her coat was sagging toward her knees, pockets bulging. She had packed in as many rocks as she possibly could carry and then some, a few in each hand. The rocks were her “biscuits”, so we took a break to build her an oven. We left the biscuits to cook and continued on our way, one of us considerably lighter than before.

The tide came in on our walk out, so our way back required a wade through the frigid water — shoes removed, socks peeled off, pant cuffs rolled up. Stepping into the shallow salt water, my feet were instantly in pain and I wondered at those who take regular cold-water plunges. I was reminded of Margaret Knight and Lily Morris, a Chappy mother-daughter duo who have been taking nearly-daily salt water dips the past few months. They immerse themselves in all kinds of weather, often remaining for a minute or so. Each swim is followed by a warm up on the beach, often with a hot drink in hand.

We bumped into Margaret shortly after our wade. She was headed out for a kayak ride on the still bay and hoped to follow it up with a dip, although it depended on how cold she became during the paddle. Lily and Margaret hope to continue their “swims” through the winter. Their energy about it is infectious and is almost enough to get me out there one of these days. Almost.

Now we settle into the steady pace of winter. Although the days are getting longer, sometimes January, February and March can feel like the darkest of weeks. I am missing our regular off-Island wintertime adventures, but I also value the extended time at home with my family. I think I will be particularly well-rested heading into another farming season.

Wishing you all a cozy and healthy start to a new year.