Suddenly, Warmth


May 14, 2022 by Jean

woman relaxingOne of the consequences of climate change is that spring comes earlier to Maine and lasts longer. This year, we had our last snowfall in early March and the first flowers in my garden (crocus bulbs planted by the foundation) opened before the month was out. After the early start, though, spring was long and cool – the kind of slow unfolding more characteristic of places further south. I’ve taken advantage of the long spring to get out in the garden several days a week, working on spring clean-up.

This week, it suddenly got warm – temperatures in the eighties here and even some nineties in inland places not affected by coastal sea breezes. The warmth happened to arrive on the last day of a course I’ve been teaching this spring, triggering the wonderful, relaxing, “end-of-school” feeling that marked a major seasonal change during my decades of teaching.

I am embracing the change of season with joy. It is now both light enough and warm enough in the early morning to go out for a walk as soon as I get up, and I am reveling in the quality of light and the sounds of birdsong as I walk along rural roads in my neighborhood. Yesterday, I cleaned up my screened porch, got out the porch furniture, and enjoyed lunch on the porch. Last night, I went to bed with windows wide open in the bedroom and with the sounds of the woods at night drifting in on soft breezes as I slept. This morning, I ate my breakfast on the porch for the first time since last September, relaxing with my feet propped up and my weekend novel at hand as I sipped my tea and ate my cereal with berries and yogurt. In these pandemic times, warm temperatures also signal the beginning of a more sociable season, as I can invite friends over for meals and visits on the porch.

The plants around me have responded to the warmth with a burst of activity. Oak trees that were just beginning to unfurl tiny leaves a few days ago are suddenly in full leaf. Outside my study window, the pin cherry has opened its flowers. In my front garden, another member of the genus Prunus, the beach plums, have also begun to bloom, and the first flowers have opened on the lilacs. Indeed, there are flowers blooming in almost every part of my garden, including spring wildflowers like violets, wild strawberries, and bluets, but also bleeding hearts, moss phlox, epimediums, and columbines – like the opening overture for the garden show to come.

The warm months go by quickly here, and I plan to savor every moment!

10 thoughts on “Suddenly, Warmth

  1. Sue McPhee says:

    Sounds magnificent!

  2. The Misadventures of Widowhood says:

    Glad to see you back in the blogging world and enjoying the weather. Ours here in Michigan got spring-like this week too. it really arrived late this year.

    • Jean says:

      Hi Jean, It’s good to get back to blogging and to reading blogs I had lost touch with. I remember now why I don’t usually teach classes in spring when there is so much to do in the garden. The class being over has really freed up some time.

  3. Heidi says:

    Beautiful, thanks Jean!

  4. Kelly says:

    My screened porch has been the highlight of the Spring. We just cleaned the patio and have begun filling the planters. I can relate to the beautiful sounds as I live off a wooded park area and old train route. The village had now completed the bike trail, so I am in heaven.

    • Jean says:

      Kelly, I sometimes wonder how I lived in summer before I had a screened porch! It has been the most marvelous enhancement to my quality of life.

  5. Diana Studer says:

    I wonder if you enjoy this teaching more? Or if you miss the university days?

    • Jean says:

      Diana, I sometimes describe teaching at the Senior College as “all the fun parts of teaching without any of the crap.” I have complete choice in what I want to teach about, there is no grading, no students who are uninterested in the material and just marking time, and the courses are short (4-8 weeks). It’s just what I need to keep my teaching skills and enjoy the satisfactions of teaching without being overwhelmed by the responsibilities.

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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.

Please join me as I step into my future.

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