TOP O' THE MORN: Dorothy O'Neil pens an ode to Spring

Oh! to be on Whidbey

When Springtime bursts its bonds.

And the croaking of the frogs begin

Along the roadside ponds —

There’s a flash of golden meadowlark

a tilting in the breeze,

And a gentle green unfolding

In the budding of the trees.

When I walk the greenwood beaches

and hear the gulls’ sad cries,

And I revel in the sunshine,

And the glistening tideflat sighs,

There’s no other time like Springtime

Bursting forth on Whidbey Island.

Tis a lovely springtime island … I think Isle stay a while!

That’s the good side of spring. Of course, April is the cruelest month but every spring month on brings mixed emotions to gardeners and cooks alike. There is the lovely side, and then there are those months that divide the year into spring and summer. Or winter and spring. On Whidbey Island, the seasons change from icy hills to rows of garden crops.

Out here in the countryside of Oak Harbor, there are beds of daffodils in bloom, several weeks before normal. Our Christmas cactus has a blossom and is thriving months before Christmas or even Easter. And St. Patrick’s Day looms, with a parade which ends at City Beach by the windmill which looms above the Blarney Stone. This venerable chunk awaits another round of smacks from the Irish and Irish-not.

Oak Harbor’s mayor, Patty Cohen, will be an important part of the parade. We’ll see you at the parade and the fun that follows — a happy community singalong at Henderson’s Restaurant.Seattle is the closest place to really hold a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Terry O’Flaherty, mayor of Galway, Ireland, is making her first visit to Seattle for the party.

We recall our visit to the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland. It was a long way to the top of the tower and a hazardous undertaking at the top.

One lies on a bench that protrudes from the side of the tower. A slit in the side of the tower reveals the stone, and two attendants make sure the kisser doesn’t fall through the opening. No people but the Irish could think up such a way to lure tourists from all over the world.

Dorothy Neil has been writing and recording Whidbey Island history for more than 50 years. Her 10 books chronicle local life and times.

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