As we in Maine are beginning to emerge from winter’s icy clutches, the possibilities of spring seem particularly tantalizing.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

Please do not mistake me; I am grateful for the forced introspection and quiet winter brings. I appreciate having to slow down, stay in with a good book and be reminded that nature is just so much bigger than we are and also that we are a part of it.

Yes, I am grateful for winter.

And then, at some point in the season, usually somewhere around the end of February, my gratitude begins to wane. I start to feel I really have had my fill of frozen toes, stinging cheeks and ice underfoot. Snow is no longer lovely; I am not in a festive mood. I yearn to be able to step out my door without gasping and recoiling into myself.

COVID-19, and the isolating precautions that come with it, have heightened all of the above. Last year’s spring and summer did not contain the joyful celebrations and explorations of “normal” years. Nor did the year before. It’s true the out-of-doors was warmer, but my family stuck pretty close to home and stayed pretty much to ourselves.

This year I have some hope for a return to outings.

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Obviously, if a new variant makes things heat back up, I will revise my plans and once again do my part to slow the spread by staying put. But as of now, an outdoor event seems doable, what with being fully boosted, always keeping my mask close at hand and being mindful of distance. So bring on the theater in the wild! Bring on the sculpture gardens! Bring on the live music!

I am freely going to admit that my eagerness for this season is mostly all about me. I have missed live shows. Much more, in fact, than I thought I would. Live music has a magic to it that you can’t get elsewhere and often sparks some fantastic conversations with people you didn’t know before. Yes, I’ve missed it.

Beyond my own enjoyment, however, I am eager to see theaters, venues and artists getting some money back in their coffers. I used to run a historic theater. I have a keen sense of how hard this stretch of time has been for the spaces we rely on for entertainment, and if there is one thing we learned during lockdown, it is how vital the arts and entertainment actually are for our survival. In the worst of it, we turned to the creators to get through.

Thank goodness for the funding to arts venues through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. A worthy investment.

Luckily for us all, a fantastic lineup of outdoor events is shaping up all around the state. There are no fewer than 18 concerts scheduled for Thomason’s Point in Portland alone and loads of other outdoor venues to boot. In Bath, the Chocolate Church has some great shows happening at the Maritime Museum, and a simple Google search will give you tons of additional options in the area.

We are fortunate in Maine to be a hub for the arts. With masks, vaccinations and careful planning, my hopes are high that we can all have a fantastic season of cultural enrichment and just good, plain fun. See you at the show!

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