Springtime in Maryland
Dress warmly to explore our shared history
With spring and winter still grappling in their annual wrestling match, I’m hoping the gentler season will gain the upper hand with its official arrival at 7:02am March 20.
In truth, I’m longing for a nice spell of sunny warmth. For spring is clearly inching into control. Look around and you see the truth: Nature’s palette is brightening with sap greens, lemon yellows and ultramarine violets. Nature’s music is lilting with bird and frog song.
But for human comfort, a little warmth would be welcome. March comes to us windy rather than warm.
What temperatures greeted the Baltimore colonists, I wonder, on their arrival just on the cusp of spring? They’d crossed the Atlantic over winter, likely wearing nothing warmer than wool. Certainly not our modern marvel fabrics like Polartec. Their stopover in Barbados must have warmed them, but back on the water the wind must have blown them quite a chill.
The Piscataway people living here would have been more used to the weather, but were they warmer dressed? Painters often show them with lots of bare skin, but their winter dress would likely still be worn in March, giving them the warmth of deer- and bearskins.
English and native at that fateful encounter shared the same sounds and sights of spring we do now, minus most of the yellow, as daffodils and forsythia are colonists.
This weekend, we can all learn more about natives and colonists in Chesapeake Country. From Friday into Monday, which is officially Maryland Day, opportunities abound for delving into four centuries of recent history. Encounters ancient and modern await explorers of all at both early landing spots, Colton’s Point and St. Mary’s City, and throughout the Four Rivers Heritage Area of Anne Arundel County.
Follow the GPS Path
To add sport to your exploration, 10 sites in Anne Arundel County invite you to find your way to them blind, as it were. Your GPS will be your guide as you use it to follow specified coordinates. At each site, geocaches will tell you you’ve got it right. Find the geocache names and coordinates at www.marylandday.org/index.php/geocaching
Captain John Smith, the Baltimore colonists and all the explorers and settlers of earlier times will look down on you with envy.
Maryland Day 2013 is historic in yet another way. Colonists came to the New World in search of freedom and abundance. Over the centuries, those wishes have come so fully true that, four centuries in, we’ve found that the downside of abundance is waste.
This year, the organization Annapolis Green is partnering with Four Rivers to help us celebrate Maryland Day in the spirit of our natives and colonists: without waste.
“We’re growing a little greener this year with Maryland Day,” says Four Rivers’ executive director Carol Benson. “As folks travel to our various sites and participate in activities, they will see examples of eco-friendly practices including distinctive eco-stations that make recycling easy at select locations downtown, thanks to Annapolis Green.”
To show its support of environmental best practices at heritage sites, Four Rivers has added a green petal to the Black-Eyed Susan on the Maryland Day logo.
Chesapeake Eye Care and Laser Center provided funding to support Annapolis Green’s outreach program through Maryland Day.
“This year’s debut will be two-fold,” says Lynne Forsman, a partner and founder of Annapolis Green. “We want to help sites take sustainable steps by providing environmental best-practice recommendations. We also want to get these eco-stations to sites where the public can make the best use of them.”
You’ll find Maryland Day eco-stations at Annapolis Maritime Museum, Charles Carroll House, Maryland Hall, West Annapolis Heritage Day Partnership, William Paca House & Garden.
Sandra Olivetti Martin
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