• Stephen D'Agostino

Finally, Some Real Signs of Spring

Lately, my days have been happily bookended by robins. As spring progresses and the sun rises a little earlier every day, so, it seems, do I. I’m usually out of bed at 4:30, working on an article, writing website pages, or working on my own writing. Without fail, shortly after five every morning, I hear a robin trilling away. Though I can’t see it in the dim twilight, it sounds like it is perched in the maple tree just outside the window.


Some 14 hours later, I see that robin, or some other robin, swoop onto the grass off the deck. In short order, she or he is joined by a second. They chase each other around and fly into and out of the willow tree by the house. Last year, a pair of robins—maybe these two—fledged three babies in that tree in July. I know robins hatch two sets of eggs every year. Perhaps this year, the willow tree will house brood number one. Or maybe they are serious planners. Whatever the case, seeing them around has made me feel optimistic about the weather. And pretty much everything else.


Another vernal vision has also made me happy. Now that the snow is gone, I was able to go out into the yard and check the progress on a project I started last year. Peonies are in my top five list of favorite flowers. I love the color, the denseness of the blooms, and their fragrance. Last year, I divided six of my peonies and placed the new plants into what I hoped would become a hedge of sorts. This week, their red crowns broke through the dirt. I know I’ll be out there every day seeing how much more they’ve grown and wishing they’d hurry up.


What signs of spring are you seeing around your home? I hope they bring you as much joy and happiness as my signs of spring have brought me!


The Reading Recreation Commission has a lot of joy and happiness to report. The last of the winter concert series is over, and the commission is thrilled to announce that with the help of folks in town and elsewhere, the concerts raised about $1500. The Rec Commission will be sending the donations to the four beneficiaries, the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, the Reading PTO, and Upper Valley WISE soon.


The commission would also like to thank Gerry Marletta and Kyle Marshall (aka Monkey Pudding Face), Spencer Lewis, Kevin Wright, Dave Richardson, and Still Hill for donating their time and talent to the Winter Concert Series. Also, thanks to everyone who contributed food to the event so that it could be a night out for folks. And finally, a big thanks to Niles Franc for proposing the idea and spearheading the effort.


I would put money on these wonderful concerts returning in January 2020. But that is so far off. Let’s talk about things that are happening closer to today.


Actually, let's talk about something that is happening today. Adult volleyball kicks off (or is it serves off) at the school at 7pm. It’s the Recreation Commission’s first event geared strictly to adults. After all, we need recreation, too. There is no fee for this event, but donations are gratefully accepted.


Also, a reminder that Green Up Day happens the Saturday after next, May 4. Green Up Day, as you know, is a statewide event in which people in their towns work to green it up. In terms of this event, that means picking up trash and other debris.


It’s nice to see the snow gone, but it does reveal the litter that’s been hiding underneath it since November. I always scratch my head and wonder why people would toss garbage like soda cans, water bottles, and the remains of their fast food lunch they ate in the car onto the side of the road. Recently, I saw a kitchen-sized garbage bag erupting its contents onto the side of the road. Maybe that fell off a pickup on its way to the dump. Still, it’s unsightly.


That’s where Green Up Day comes in. You’ll work to remove this stuff. Bags and your assignment will be provided at the kick off of the event, which happens in front of Town Hall from 8am to 9am. There will also be free coffee and donuts.


Remember that not only is May 4 Green Up Day, it’s also another day in tick season. From what I’ve heard, it’s already in full swing. More than one person has told me they’ve found these little pests on themselves or their kids. Be sure to wear gloves, long pants, socks, and boots or other heavy footwear. Even if it weren’t for fear of ticks, this would be wise attire for the work that needs to be done.

Finally, here is a really nice community story and a reminder of why we live here. The week before Easter, Lisa Kaija posted a request on Front Porch Forum. She needed up to 12 dozen eggs for her church’s Easter breakfast. She told me that within days of the posting, she had her eggs. She wishes to thank Annie Rubright, Erin Grogan, Mark Nowlan, and Chris Titus for coming through in a clutch and for proving again that Reading is a small town with a big heart.


Happy birthday to Virginia Springer and Ethan Ameele (April 27), Sylvia Ledoux, Nathaniel Jenne II, and Mikaya Springer (April 28), and Sherry Leonard (May 1).


That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!


This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on April 25, 2019.

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