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The Helpless Optimism of Spring

The calm before the cold - March 18 photo credit A. O'Brien

The chaos of March: 70 degree days and blooms then snow flurries, frost, and fierce winds, then rinse and repeat. It's good to see green again and the extra hour of light in the evenings feels luxurious. I get a sense of "we made it" yet it's still not quite warm enough to plant most vegetables and even various bulbs beg: not until chance of frost is gone! The last frost date here in central Maryland is typically around Mother's Day. Mid-May?! Another six weeks away. Can I hold out?

On a drive to New Jersey recently, Florence and the Machine's "Daffodil" cycled through my play list - my favorite from her latest album Dance Fever - and she sings of the "helpless optimism of spring." When I feel like nothing more than a passive observer to the ups and downs of the weather patterns as we try to make our way to summer, yes---helpless feels like the right word.

Among the unsettled weather patterns also lies unsettled work routines. Shaking off the lethargy of winter and wanting to dive into all my summer people pleasures, these 48 degree days and cold winds remind me not yet, despite the blue sky. As such, I am finding it hard to finish anything lately,except for reading books on maritime disasters and the history of Nantucket whaling. Latest reads include Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade, In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, and Demon of the Waters by Gregory Gibson.

So as the daffodils continue to bloom (and defy the deer that eat almost everything else in the garden), I continue to wait, helplessly optimistic.

Spring evening photo credit: A. O'Brien

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