Here’s to new starts

On New Year’s Day, in East Boothbay, with an air temperature in the teens and a water temperature only 8 degrees above freezing, the 12th annual Penguin Plunge helped raise money for the second grade swim program at the Y.

What this tradition says about the obsessions of Mainers, or the rewards of the post-dip warm-up is something that perhaps only “rugged New Englanders” appreciate. (A Puritannical make-yourself-miserable-enough-and-you’ll-feel-better-later understory to the state slogan “The way life should be”?).

Yet in addition to sending greetings from Boothbay as the New Year begins to unfold, this news reminds us of the many contrasts between now and opening day at Spruce Point Inn, in May. For beneath the ice-crusted snow and the anticipated mounds the next storm will bring us, there are daffodil and lily bulbs sleeping off the winter. In our ‘baby’ orchard, the apples, pears and cherries stand without dreaming: their life-blood drained down for the winter, just like our waterpipes to reduce the effect of frozen and bursting veins in those fragile branches.

Inside, the main kitchen is unrecognizable as we undertake a complete renovation. New paint will come to many of the guestrooms and cottages at about the same time as the growing sunlight regains the strength of the marine palette we chose as the complement to the views.

Meanwhile, the sales office hums and the phone rings. Not surprisingly, given the eternal springtime of love, the diamonds that sparkled up the holidays are now floating visions of gossamer wedding veils along with the January snowflakes. Soon the season will be upon us again.

To that, we’ll raise another glass of champagne and toast to 2014. May it be the best year ever, for everyone!