Earth Daze by Jamie Kirkpatrick

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The tea crabapple and tulip trees in the pocket park behind the White Swan are exploding. The sycamore just outside the front gate is in bud busily creating the leaves that will shade us in summer and keep us busy in the fall. There is a quiet riot of daffodils in my neighbor’s front yard, the bleeding hearts and peonies are poking up out back, there are new tendrils of wisteria climbing along the garden wall, and is that lilac I smell? A pair of industrious house wrens are building a nest under the eaves of the front porch—they’re welcome to make their new home with us. The hummingbird feeders are full and ready to refresh any weary traveler coming up from the south. It’s just warm enough to drink my first cup of coffee outside in the Sunday morning stillness and while I know full well that there may still be an uninvited snow squall or a frost warning or two ahead—we live in Maryland after all!—I think I can safely declare that spring has finally found its way to the banks of the Chester.

Spring: that most welcome of guests who admittedly arrives with some decidedly unwelcome baggage, like the sheen of pollen on the car every morning or my wife’s allergies. Nevertheless, Persephone’s reemergence heralds cool-but-not-cold mornings, warm-but-not-stifling afternoons, and fresh-but-not-sultry nights. Open windows, lingering evenings, hammock naps, and porch gatherings. Baseball games; golf without wool hats, two gloves, and multiple layers of clothing. Flip-flops instead of boots. College kids in shorts and tee shirts, the splash of water in Fountain Park, sunset cruises on the River Packet, and plans for Tea Party.

Fields are plowed and dressed and while the unmistakable smell of manure can come wafting into town on even the most gentle of breezes, soon green, not brown, will be the order of the day. Now on Saturday mornings, there are bright hanging baskets and fresh, new produce at the Farmers Market; maybe we’ll see the first hot-house tomatoes in a week or two! Big wheel keep on turning!

One of the things I most appreciate about living here is that we’re never far removed from the land, the weather, and the seasons. When I lived in that big city over on the Western Shore, it was hard to feel the subtle changes in the days or see the stars at night. Here, all I have to do is sit on the front porch or walk out in the backyard. I know I’ve said this before, but I just feel closer to God here. I feel as though I have a front row seat at a heavenly concert where I can plainly hear the music of the spheres.

I know that spring can be a fickle tease and that soon enough, we’ll be complaining about the heat or wishing it would rain or longing for cooler weather. That’s all part of the story. But this chapter is one of my favorites and I like to savor it like pie right out of the oven. Strawberry-Rhubarb, please.

I’ll be right back.

Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy magazine. “A Place to Stand,” a book of photographs and essays about Landon School, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015.  A collection of his essays titled “Musing Right Along” was released in May and is already in its second printing. Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com.

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