Spring Drama

Graduations, weddings, new jobs: transition is in the air.

Somehow it’s already late spring, even though a friend living in a mountain home in Colorado is still posting pictures of snowstorms on Facebook. It’s wedding season and you know what that means. Back in Bowie, dear friends are reeling with preparations for a elegant tux-and-boots wedding just a week after their daughter and her fiancé will graduate from Texas A&M. If you don’t think that’s a double-whammy, then you don’t know Texas culture.

Personally, I am fonder of autumn, when things become stiller, colors more muted, and focus shifts inside. But spring is the cherished season for most folks. There’s a lot of tossing in spring, too. Hats tossed into the air, bouquets tossed into the crowd, boxes tossed onto moving trucks, and everyone going somewhere. I won’t even mention the spring tornados down here, which add their own signature to event planning.

My Smithsonian travels are about to crank up too. I leave Monday to take a group to the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—followed by St. Petersburg, Russia. How is it that far-in-the-future dates suddenly loom before us? And, please explain this to me: how is that, after so much travel, I am still confused about what to pack?

fuk

Evgenii Fuk

Oh toss the confusion. Because first, we’re going to enjoy our Teaching the Arts Classically symposium that will take place here in two days, on Saturday May 13. Deli lunches, nametags, handouts for workshops—that’s what’s on my mind today. Plus we’re mounting an exhibit of paintings by our colleague Evgenii Fuk. His work is beautiful. I can’t find a better word to use. Just beautiful. Forests, mountains, radiant flowers, beguiling streams and trails—he paints each scene in a way that makes you want to walk into the canvas.

So it’s busy. Spring-busy. For you, for us, for all. I wonder if that’s how the trees feel like when they crowd into bloom? Of course, down here it’s lush green, but not many days ago we were driving through West Virginia headed to Virginia Beach to visit our son after the huge Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention. Within a few hours, we drove through three seasons. The most striking scene was the area of mountains close to my father’s home place outside of Bluefield. The tops of the closely spaced mountains were still clad in winter: bare trees, grey rocks, and frosty misty. But the slopes heading down into the hollers were verdant with green and speckled with dogwood.

I’d forgotten just how extraordinary the landscape is in West Virginia. I’d forgotten about watching spring spread up the mountain. It’s a three-act drama! And yes, driving through, I did find myself singing “Country Roads, take me home, to the place I belong, West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home.” It’s not a tune ordinarily on my mind. But in that setting, it burst out.

May your spring burstings be of the best kind. May your festivals and celebrations, whatever they be, proceed smoothly, with joy for all. If your household is racing to finish semester activities, if you’re stepping into graduations and weddings, repurposing rooms or basements, whatever furious activity is before you, may you smile and keep your sense of humor, too. After all, the eye of the storm is a good place to find peace, I’m told. Dive in, and I’ll see you on the other side!