Season's Greeting's

March 20, 2004|By Larry Bingham | Larry Bingham,SUN STAFF

ON THE LAST DAY OF WINTER, the Maid Easy Cleaning Service in Gaithersburg had received calls from customers wanting their windows washed. Watermark Cruises in Annapolis had scheduled its first springtime wedding. Hollins Organic Products in Baltimore had begun delivering garden mulch to homeowners six days a week instead of five.

Joe Traill had noticed an uptick in the number of "dusty, rusty" bikes brought in to his Mount Washington Bike Shop for tune-ups, the Earth Camp in Friendship had started scrubbing kayaks, and farmers in the Eastern Shore town of Snow Hill had begun to harvest carrots, radishes and lettuce greens.

Christine Covington, owner of Emmorton's Snowballs in Bel Air, had bleached the ice-shaving machine, emptied the bees from the fluorescent light covers, wiped the counters and fans, pressure-washed the deck, put new pumps in the flavor dispensers, bought hot fudge, frozen strawberries, and jimmies, and was awaiting an order of ice cream - "the rich and fatty kind" - for the soft serve machine, which she hoped to have up and running today.

On the last day of winter, when the temperature reached 50 degrees, Washington County work crews in Hagerstown had picked up dead wood and painted picnic tables at municipal parks, the Padonia Park Club in Cockeysville had begun accepting pool memberships, osprey had returned to Blackwater National Refuge in Cambridge, Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis had received 25 applications for summer jobs, daffodils had opened in Towson, and buds had begun to unfurl on trees in Salisbury.

And, finally, at 1:29 this morning, when the sun crossed the equator, even on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County, where snow had fallen the day before, spring arrived.

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