Maryland spring is magnificent -- if and when it ever gets here

April 07, 2007|By JACQUES KELLY

A trip home from New York this week offered little convincing evidence of spring until the Susquehanna River came into sight. Crossing the bridge and touching down in Harford County was like passing a seasonal checkpoint. On our side of the Susquehanna, the trees became green, and by the time Rosedale shot by, the Bradford pears were showing white. We may curse the Maryland summer, but the Maryland spring, even in a temperamental year like this, is a sight to behold.

That said, I had thick ice on my porch roof yesterday and don't even remind me about the $110 worth of overpriced bulbs I put in last fall. What emerged in the garden got smacked around by those late-winter ice storms. And by the way, does anybody really like the early start to daylight-saving time? Those bright early spring dawns that Congress abolished were always a such bright wake-up call. I enjoyed hearing the birds going crazy as the sun smacked you out of sleep about 6:15 a.m.

Then there's the evening. Is there any point to daylight at 7:45 p.m. when it's 47 degrees and windy?

I grew up in a house where we shopped for a type of garment called a spring coat -- later used on the seaside boardwalk on cool June nights -- but this week I pulled out my heavy winter coat and all its attachments.

If the return of February in April has any merit, it may be that the cool weather will extend the current display on flowering trees. Baltimore tree planters went on a dizzy bender with the Bradford pears in the 1970s and 1980s. This variety was not so popular in some circles because Bradfords are not very long-lived and their branches tend to snap off in a wet snow.

That said, they put on such a show this week that even their critics could forgive their shortcomings. I confess to like seeing their white blossoms blow around during an April wind gust. It's like confetti.

And isn't that what spring is all about -- outrageous displays for a few days, then back to the routine?

I think this cold snap has stimulated appetites (at least it has mine).

I watched a batch of shoppers the other night at the trendy Whole Foods Market in Inner Harbor East bypass the displays of yoga mats and grab up the Easter novelty candy. There was also a lesson to be learned from the store employees who hand out food samples. The poor fellow offering the lamb received little attention. The guy distributing the foil-wrapped eggs had a line of takers.

Confession is good for the soul during Holy Week. I unburdened myself this week to my sister. I know she likes chocolate with pistachio inside and picked up a bar for her Easter basket. But on one of the these chilly nights, I broke into her gift stash and downed the whole thing myself. Only the foil paper was left.

When I called her to confess, she forgave me. She also burst into laughter. She admitted she had been to the grocery store twice this week to replenish the gifts she had consumed in the privacy of her home.

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