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Green days and patience

They say you’ll find more green beer, corned beef and cabbage and blarney circulating in New England than in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day. And that’s probably true, given there areseven times more Irish descendants in America than in Ireland, thanks to the exodus that brought so many across the ocean. The Scots and Irish, like the 20 families who arrived in Boston on the “Maccallum” out of Londonderry in 1718 and eventually settled at the mouth of the Androscoggin were probably the only souls willing to take on the challenge of this rocky Atlantic shore and its stone-packed ground as something closely resembling the unfriendly planting grounds of home.

But it seems as if everything’s turning green on March 17 because we’re so desperate to see it! Every winter, by the time of the vernal equinox (Friday, March 20 at 6:45 pm, this year), we’re ready for the sun. We welcome the melting. We peer at the tree branches silhouetted again the sky for some tiny evidence of new growth in the tracery.

This March 17 is even more in need of green. The spruces here on the Point seem a little brighter in their evergreen cloaks. The edges of lawn creeping out from under the snowbanks hint that there might be life there. And the growing population of maple trees decked out in sap buckets is proof that something’s rising from winter’s grasp.

But don’t be in too much of a rush. The patience required to pull potatoes out of a rocky field in Lincoln County is the same for sugar season. The perfect maple run depends on warm days and chill (below freezing) nights or the trees get too enthusiastic, going about their business of making leaves too fast, converting those wonderful sugars in the sap to chlorophyll too soon and ‘spoiling’ the batch.

The trees – like the Irish – would probably disagree with the sermon, “all in due time.” That’s what brought Rev. McGregor and the 20 families to Casco Bay, after all. Tired of waiting, they pressed on with the business of renewal, hope and opportunity. Maple Sunday, March 22ndis a good time to celebrate the savoring of rewards.

It is a marvelous time, these first warming days of spring. As we watch the clock (and make the most of those newly-lengthened evenings as we hasten towards Opening Day), we do pause with our faces turned toward the sun. The small green ‘noses’ of the daffodils will be along soon. And so will our guests. Looking forward to those days, we wish them and you the old Irish toast: “May the road rise to greet you.” Here on Grandview Avenue we’ll be (somewhat) patiently waiting for you.