Progress means different things to different people. Twenty years ago when I moved to Maryland, passage from Route 3 to Severna Park was by way of a bucolic Benfield Road (now named West Benfield) that meandered up hill and down dale, winding under tall trees that intertwined overhead.
But the call for progress came and, less than a mile to the north, construction of the new Benfield Boulevard cut a wide path through the trees.
Gradually, traffic increased and Benfield again became the target of progress. An additional section of road further to the east was widened.
Down went more trees.
A group of merchants met to resolve how to save those qualities that had attracted people to Severna Park in the first place, chief among them being its natural beauty.
They approached County Executive O. James Lighthizer with a plan to add landscaping to the Benfield corridor, a stretch of road nearly half a mile long, extending from Jumpers Hole Road to the Severna Park Baptist Church.
Similar "greenings" had already been completed along College Parkway and Ritchie Highway.
Under Lighthizer's leadership, the Benfield Beautification Project was born. As soon as the county's landscape architect, Richard McIntyre, completed the design, bids were let for the project.
Landscape Design and Development Corp. of Edgewater, contract winner at a little over $48,000, began the beautification process Oct. 15. The most obvious additions are the trees: red maple, cherry, and zelkova, a tree similar to the American elm, with bright fall coloration, but without its susceptibility to the fatal Dutch elm disease.
Other plantings include shrubs: cotoneaster, Mugo pine, and Sargent juniper; perennial flowers: aster, columbine, day lily, daisy, hollyhock, phlox, and yarrow; and ornamental grasses.
The shrubs and trees are being added to new and existing beds and along a 600-foot stretch of stockade fencing that borders the community of Kensington.
To add landscaping to the parking lots, sections of asphalt are being removed and new beds are being constructed.
It seems that we have a lot to look forward to next spring and for seasons to come.
In fact, we have something special to look forward to this weekend. The drama club of Severna Park High School presents "Harvey," at 8 p.m. on tomorrow and Saturday in the school auditorium.
Directed by Thomas McKown, who serves as drama coach when not teaching English, the popular three-act play was written in the 1940s by Mary Chase, who also wrote "Arsenic and Old Lace."
The comedy stars Ryan Batty as Elwood P. Dowd, who is the only one able to see the otherwise invisible white rabbit, Harvey. Dowd's sister, Veta, is played by Katya Roelse.
Chris Riley is stage manager.
Tickets are $4 and are available at the door.
In Severna Park, when temperatures drop outside, anticipation rises inside for the holiday craft sales. First on our list is the Berrywood Women's Club Holiday Boutique from 4 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, and from 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the club house on Berrywood Drive.
This sale features holiday trimmings -- wreaths and ornaments, gifts, picture albums, wood workings and gourmet baked goods.
The Arnold Women's Club will sponsor its sixth annual Fall Craft Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Magothy Middle/Severn River School on Peninsula Farm Road off College Parkway.
More than 75 crafters will present their wares, and Santa will put in a guest appearance. The Maryland State Police will fingerprint your children for free; baby-sitting will be available at no cost; and door prizes will be awarded. Baked goods and food will be sold.
There will be many fairs during the coming weeks, but those with the longest traditions always occur on the first Saturday in December.
For 49 years, the women of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church have shared their talents. Their sale is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Besides all the gifts and baked goods, one of my favorite booths is the used-book corner. There are children's books, cook books, and books on every subject under the sun. I invariably come come away with more books than I can carry.
A few blocks away on Benfield Road, also on Dec. 1, is the St.
Martin's-In-the-Field Holiday Bazaar, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the education building beside the new sanctuary.
Members of the congregation work all year on beautiful items to sell at the bazaar, which includes guest artisans, too.
Congress and President Bush have proclaimed November as National Hospice Month. The proclamation reads: "In acknowledgment of the value of hospice programs and in grateful recognition of the thousands of health care professionals and volunteers who care for the terminally ill."