May 18, 2016 by Jean
In Maine’s sped-up version of spring, you wait and wait and wait for spring to arrive and then everything happens at once. Daffodils, tulips, forsythia, azaleas, lilacs and fruit trees are all blooming simultaneously, while deciduous trees go from flowers to leafing out in what seems like the blink of an eye. In my garden, plants shoot up and form flower buds so quickly, that I sometimes go out to walk around the garden both early and late in the day to see what has happened in the hours between.
This is also a time of year when I race to get spring garden chores done before the plants in my flower beds mature. I had four cubic yards of compost delivered on Monday morning and now need to find the time to distribute it to various garden areas, where I use it as mulch. I’ll take on one flower bed at a time, weeding and putting in any needed plant supports before mulching. I know that, if I try to do everything at once, I’ll just end up spinning my wheels. I need to pick one chore, focus on it, and screen out all the other things that are crying out for attention!
Many of my spring activities are also racing toward a conclusion. Last Friday was the last class of my Senior College course on Maine trees – a delightful two-hour visit to a local nature preserve where we strolled forest paths along the Androscoggin River, pausing frequently to study and identify trees. Tomorrow is the last class of my Master Gardener course and the day when our killer take-home exam (more than 60 short-answer questions) is due. And this weekend, the Maine Music Society Chorale will conclude its 2015-2016 season with two performances of Piano Men, a concert of Billy Joel and Elton John tunes.
All of this has left me feeling a bit breathless. I alternate periods of working on my final exam with work on music that I’m still trying to master, all the while trying to squeeze in time to work in the garden. Today, for example, I spent an hour outside doing garden chores; fitting it in around the four hours needed to finish my Master Gardener exam and 2-3 hours to work on music.
I don’t mind this brief period of feeling rushed. During my long academic career, the end of May was one of my favorite times of year. Beginning in March, the semester would seem to speed up and the workload get heavier and heavier, in a crescendo that peaked in the end-of-semester crunch. Then, when I turned in final grades, it would all crash to a halt, followed by a wonderful period of total relaxation. I am looking forward to that delicious feeling of relaxation next Monday, when both my exam and my concerts will be behind me.