From Magic City Morning Star

Down the Road
Getting ready for spring and some walks
By Milt Gross
Apr 13, 2015 - 8:22:30 PM

Not long ago I looked out the window and saw fresh snow on the car and on the spruce trees in our yard that had been clear of snow a day before.

But I'm still getting ready for spring.

Spring is when we have mud for a little while. It's a nuisance if you're driving in the slippery brown stuff. It's even a nuisance if you're walking, if your walk takes you through the slippery brown stuff.

It's also when we first have a few, then too many blackflies. They are suddenly just there. You don't want them, but that's spring. They love to nibble at you -- your face, bare arms, even legs if it's gotten warm enough for you to wear shorts.

I remember once wearing shorts as I was driving a bus. The boss saw me and asked why I was wearing them. It was early spring, April.

"Because where I'm taking the bus this morning, I would get the cuffs of long pants wet. So I'm wearing shorts."

That seemed to satisfy him.

I've worn shorts in the bus when it was really too cold. But I was either stalling off admitting that fall was here or I was pushing spring. I prefer to push spring, because I know it will eventually get warmer.

I've worn shorts also when Dolores and I were heading out for an early spring walk along some trail. The sun warms things up rather quickly as spring arrives, so I was never really cold wearing shorts. And when it gets warm, long pants seem just too warm in the spring.

This spring we're aiming for walks along paths we've walked before, but walking them in the spring will be fun. The short paths at Fort Point State Park are nice, because the walks are brief enough to have us back at the car before either I get cold wearing shorts or the blackflies become too pesky. One nice thing about that park is that a lot of it is in spruce and pine, and bugs aren't crazy about spruce or pine.

At Moose Point State Park, the paths are also short and there are enough evergreens to also keep the worst of the bugs at bay there too. Of course, some of the paths there can become muddy in the spring. But a bit of mud on our walking shoes is not a crisis.

We can always walk across the footbridge in Belfast. There is no mud at all there, and under a warming sun and blue skies the view there is pretty nice.

The carriage roads in Acadia National Park become soft in the midst of spring, and some are even closed temporarily for that reason But the paved roads in the park are nice in spring; too early for auto traffic and just right to walk and enjoy the views that are everywhere.

A carriage road in Acadia National Park, which go for a total of about 50 miles, and are great for walking once they dry out in the spring. Milt Gross photo.

A year or so after Dolores underwent two brain operations at Massachusetts General Hospital for a couple of brain aneurysms, one which was leaking and one which was about to leak, I took her for a walk at Great Head in Acadia. We were walking south and we came to a dozen-foot-high cliff we needed to go down. She had never done much trail hiking before I met her. I kind of guided her down, a new adventure for her. I had forgotten her limitations both from her lack of hiking experience and her still recovering from the brain operations. But she made it down okay, and we continued our walk to Sand Beach.

If you're planning any such walks, try to remember if your partner has had any recent surgeries.

Another spring features takes place indoors. I have that Johnny Seeds catalogue open in front of me, planning for the perfect garden. Last year's wasn't perfect; the tomatoes for some reason hardly grew at all. This spring, though, I'm planning on moving them to the upper part of the garden and use a bit of potato space for those tomatoes. Other green stuff, peas and all that, will fit in here and there.

While I study that catalog and plan from indoors, spring -- and summer -- are perfect.

I keep straw on the garden as a mulch, so I don't have to do much hoeing in the spring. Mostly it's clearing rows from the straw. That is much easier than hoeing each spring.

Mostly, though, what I like about spring is that it's spring.

Spring -- a bit of work when it arrives -- but fun to look forward to before it arrives.

So, welcome spring....if you ever arrive.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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