Away with winter, maybe

The wonder of bare ground and the tempting lyrics of an early spring have Mainers behaving like ancient mariners lured by the calls of the charming sirens, only to be wrecked on the gardens of frozen seedlings. Despite the warming sun and the compliant earth breaking free from its winter grip, it’s just not time to pull out the spade. Do not, we are advised, plant those peas yet. (Though if anyone does, please let us know what day they went into the ground, and what progress they make. We’re curious.)

But the weather has been gorgeous enough — blue skies, temperatures above freezing — that men in shorts and girls in tank tops have been trekking about, while children have taken to bicycles and skateboards. At the Camden Public Library, the crocuses are abloom and one friend reports that consummate gardener David Dickey (also proprietor of the Riverhouse Inn in Camden) has been spotted hauling bags of soil to strategic planting spots.

Still, at the Camden Snow Bowl, the skiing is reportedly outstanding. Sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than finding a sunny corner on the deck of the Snow Bowl lodge to watch a community enjoy a beautiful mountain.


The local red carpet

Midcoast movie lovers gathered at Rockland’s Strand Theatre March 7 for the Salt Water Film Society’s fourth annual big-screen viewing of the Academy Awards.

While many of those in the local audience were “dressed to the nines,” as House Manager Elizabeth McLeod said, quite a few arrived in the balloon-filled lobby in casual clothes prepared to sit back in the shared living room atmosphere that’s found when television content meets movie house technology.

McLeod, who acted as mistress of ceremonies for a series of prize raffles during the screening, was joined in her role by the film society’s Brian Wilson.

“I would have dressed to the nines,” McLeod said, “but I don’t fit into the nines these days.”

None of the fans in Rockland were put through the scrutiny that those on the Hollywood runway had to face. E! Networks clownish fashion critics drew arrows to direct viewers’ eyes at women’s cleavage and waistlines, while ignoring the answers that nominees gave to their questions. Locally, the fashion display was more good-humored, with tiaras sharing the spotlight with Maine’s more traditional couture of plaid and polypropylene.

As in homes across the country, viewers at the Strand punctuated the awards program with laughter and applause, cheering as their favorite artists and films appeared on the screen. Animated chatter, generally not part of theatrical showings, spilled over the balcony and rose up from seats throughout the audience.

Unlike Meryl Streep, who said she would be glad to kick off her Jimmy Chus at the end of the long broadcast, Midcoast viewers were more fortunate.

The Saltwater Film Society’s next big-screen event at the Strand will be a festival of new international surfing films on April 24. We can’t wait to see the way viewers dress for that one.