Racing Toward Summer

9

May 18, 2016 by Jean

imageIn 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.

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9 thoughts on “Racing Toward Summer

  1. Carole says:

    It all sounds wonderful! Wish I could be there to enjoy the performance of Piano Men. They are two of my favorites! What joy. About a year ago i started playing the piano again after a long respite (high school!). I’m still rusty, but getting better. That moment when you feel one with the music is magical.

    Enjoy your upcoming period of relaxation. You deserve it!

    • Jean says:

      Carole, I’m really impressed that you’ve gone back to the piano after so long away. My vocal skills are rusty, too, but a lot of it has come back more quickly than I expected. The Piano Men music was fun to sing — although more difficult than I would have guessed (all those syncopated rhythms!).

  2. Jean R. says:

    I have enjoyed following your work towards becoming a Master Gardener. I never appreciated the depth of study it takes. Silly me, I thought you just had to have a beautiful garden and submit photos somewhere.

    We’re still getting too much frost to plant outside yet and our fruit growers are concerned.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, All danger of frost seems to be past here. We have been having warmer than normal temperatures, and I went ahead and planted out my morning glories today. The Master Gardener course is really just the beginning of learning. I am now volunteering on my county’s horticultural answer line; we respond to requests from the public to identify weeds or bugs or diseases, and each request requires research and consultation with others — a great learning experience.

  3. Hopefully you will have some garden respite time soon Jean….I am taking May slow. We have the same slow to spring season and then it turns to summer fast.

    • Jean says:

      Donna, I spent my first relaxation day out shopping for plants — and today I got out into the garden to plant many of them. We’ve been having warm weather and everything is happening so quickly in the garden. I love this time of year (even if I do need to work in my full suit of netting armor to keep from getting eaten alive by the black flies!).

  4. Brenda says:

    Whoa, that is a crescendo of activity. Spring brings such a force of energy that all the breathless scrambling seems to fit somehow.
    We are similarly busy, although much of our activity is right at home. We are in a mad dash to get planting beds ready and planted. In another week or so, we will have the planting done and, like you, I am looking forward to the minute where I can lean back, put my feet up, and enjoy a bit of leisure.
    Today’s weather was glorious. I hope you got to enjoy it before your concert!

    • Jean says:

      Brenda, I’m happily getting into my “summer” schedule — going out to walk first thing when I get up and getting out to work in the garden regularly. Although I know we need rain, I’m still enjoying this warm, sunny weather.

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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