May 14, 2022 by Jean
One 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!