Ten days into winter I am usually ready to kick the old year to the curb, but life really does not feel all that different on the first day of January than it did on the last day of December. Other than feeling relieved that the stress of the holidays is over and writing a different number on checks and correspondence, the transition to a new calendar year feels more like same old same old. Island life is cold, dark and pretty colorless in January. What is there to celebrate?

What if we changed our calendars to begin the new year on June 1? We could combine Memorial Day weekend with a New Year’s Eve celebration. Many of the people who return to the islands for the long weekend are the ones we haven’t seen since last year. We grumble about how crummy winter was everywhere, and how happy we are to be done with it.

Instead of greeting each other with the words, “How was your winter?” (to which almost everyone could respond, “It was awful, but we made it through,”) we could be saying, “Happy New Year! How nice to see you again!”

The drop of a glowing crystal ball on New Year’s Eve in Times Square pales in comparison to the nature bomb we experience in June. The countdown of a cold wet spring feels worth the wait when we see the diversity of green appearing in new leaves, witness the simultaneous blooms of lilac, lupine and apple blossoms, and attempt to identify countless warblers and songbirds either by sight or by sound.

“Have you heard any winter wrens yet?” asked my neighbor Rick at the end of May. I had not, but two days later, I heard one singing joyfully in the woods behind our house, sounding like a music box on crack. Such a loud tune for such a tiny bird.

So many things signal a fresh start at this time of year. I have much more happy anticipation in June than I have in January.

In the busy beginning of summer there is a mad push to finish painting projects and get summer houses cleaned and opened for a new season. Owners of those houses will be posting fresh directions about trash pick up, boat schedules, dog ordinances and any other helpful island information. New calendars are up at the island post offices telling of upcoming activities at the Islesford Neighborhood House, the Cranberry House and the Community Center.

New work is being prepared and purchased for display at Islesford Artists Gallery, The Whale’s Rib, Winter’s Work, The Islesford Dock Gallery, Island Girl Seaglass and Islesford Pottery. At the Islesford Museum there will be a brand new exhibit, a retrospective of the work of Islesford artist Ashley Bryan, which will give visitors and residents something new to see in the little brick building. New menu items are being planned for both the Hitty Cafe on Great Cranberry and the Islesford Dock Restaurant.

Every island garden either has new seedlings coming up or fresh space ready for new plants. At this time of year there are flats of vegetation on almost every ferry ride, prompting admiration and questions like, “Where did you get those?” and “Are those annuals or perennials?”

As temperatures start to hit the 70s it’s not just the gardens getting a new look. Lightweight clothes that were stored away last October take the place of heavier sweaters, hats and mittens, providing a fresh wardrobe for the warm days ahead.

By the middle of June each island has hosted a road and beach clean up benefitting residents and imparting an example for visitors. (If we like it this way, maybe you will help us keep it this way, too.) 

A calendar year starting on June 1 could have quite a positive effect on new year’s resolutions. (Who wants to start losing weight at the beginning of a limited social season?) My own list of resolutions would be:

The last resolution is perhaps the most important. So much of our economy depends on tourism. We live at the edge of a national park. Who wouldn’t want to come here? It’s gorgeous, and many aspects of island living are worth asking about. Let’s embrace the new year and have a fabulous summer. Now, what would your resolutions be?

Barbara Fernald is a jewelry maker who lives, works and writes on Islesford (Little Cranberry Island).