This last week I celebrated winter by taking a long road trip to ski at Stowe in Vermont. As soon as the car entered the state of Vermont the landscape was draped in recently fresh fallen snow. It was a definite winter wonderland of snow. That sojourn into the world of Vermont winter sports is now in the rearview mirror. In front of me now is spring!
Yes, spring 2023 is now less than 50 days away. That means soon trees will start budding. Daffodils will start popping out of the earth all over in the yards and parks of the east end. I love spring on the east end for a host of reasons. Warmer weather along with longer amounts of sunlight come to mind quickly. However, the number one reason just might be that I enjoy the feeling of rebirth. There is the yearly coming back to life of trees, plants and bushes. Seasonal businesses also come back to life. When I go to the boatyard in the spring suddenly there are more pleasant bird sounds on nearby trees. Eventually, you can’t hope but notice all the Osprey that come back to their nest to start new families.
When you are not a born local, you most likely have the memory of your first full-time springtime in the Hamptons. Of course, my first springtime followed my first winter and that first winter had lots of snow and lots of snow shoveling. I was staying in a house that had an epic uphill driveway. One huge snowstorm had me shoveling all the way to the road only to see the road was unplowed and the snow was actually deeper than the driveway was.
After two days of living off what was in the house, I eventually had to walk all the way into East Hampton Village. Before buying some food supplies I went into what was then The East Hampton Grill (now Cittanuova.) There I met J.J. Jensen who was behind the bar and I ordered a hamburger with fries with a beer while I watched a football game. Over time I became a friend of J.J.’s as most people who live all year round in East Hampton are.
As springtime came around my first order of business was to paint my boat bottom and get it ready to go into the water. I also had to secure full-time employment. While doing that I also remember having my bicycle tuned up and using it almost every day instead of driving when I could. Riding a bicycle around East Hampton in the spring for the first time was quite an experience. Exploring the Northwest Woods for the first time was a challenge not having G.P.S. etc. Remember 2003 did not have smartphones. It was flip phone heaven back then if you could get a signal. As bad as some think it is now, cellphone service was even worst back then.
I love the moist smell of the freshly turned farmlands in the spring on the east end. Who doesn’t enjoy the ocean breezes getting warmer day by day. When you ride a bike you get to see, feel, and smell things you miss zooming by in a car. Even though I did have a convertible VW riding the bike around that first spring might just have been the catalyst for my strong affection for East Hampton. I still recall riding down Old Town Road in Amagansett and having an owl go right across me just a foot or so higher. It freaked me out. To this day when I ride my bike, I still watch out for owls.
Soon, I will be checking out the lawnmower, the fertilizer seed mix, and preparing for the massive yard spring cleaning. There was a time in Westchester when I had a gardener for all that. Now I do all those chores. At sixty-something and beyond we all need to find things to keep us active and healthy. For me now doing the yard is that activity. So get ready folks, spring begins on March 20th!