Sights and Sounds of Spring

After spending some time at home replacing all the plants and shrubs that were destroyed by the February winter storm, we returned to Cedar Hill State Park for an ideal weekend filled with the sights and sounds of spring. Our only regret was that a gazillion other people had the same idea. All the surrounding campsites were occupied, and many of them had multiple vehicles, tents, coolers, grills, and canopies.

We arrived on Friday evening and set up our site amid gentle breezes and birdsong. The cocktail of choice was a White Cosmo, made with white cranberry juice, vodka and St. Germain with a squeeze of lime. Chef Cliff prepared a perfect Date Night tenderloin on the Big Green Egg, accompanied by a baked potato and grilled asparagus. We ended the evening by watching a few episodes of Arrested Development, in honor of the brilliant Jessica Walter, who had died just two days before. At the twilight of her long career, she gave us the memorable character of Lucille, the manipulative, materialistic Bluth family matriarch. We admit it, we’re among the series’ cult following.

Saturday found us enjoying warm weather, brunching under the picnic pavilion, napping in the afternoon, and imbibing in White Cosmos by the campfire. Chef Cliff grilled Thursday’s leftover turkey meatloaf and served it with bacon and cheese on a brioche bun. We indulged in his tasty take on traditional hamburgers while listening to the Grand Ole Opry (OK, Oak Ridge Boys, it’s time to retire!), the highlight of which was Brandy Clark’s “Remember Me Beautiful,” a haunting tribute to those who have died as a result of the pandemic. We ended the evening with a long walk along the lake under the Worm Moon (so called because it occurs at a time when earthworms appear as the soil warms in spring). A late-night viewing of Saturday Night Live had us doubled over with laughter at Maya Rudolph’s portrayal of Beyoncé in a parody of the popular YouTube series “Hot Ones,” on which celebrities are interviewed over a plate of increasingly spicy chicken wings. We predict this segment will be included in SNL highlight reels for years to come.

On Sunday morning, as we walked along Joe Pool Lake, we were absolutely mesmerized by the sight of the Worm Moon as it set over the water. We then pursued our typical activities for the remainder of the morning, finally taking another long walk at “holy hour” (that time in the early afternoon when everyone has checked, leaving us alone to enjoy the park). A crackling campfire and the distant cries of coyotes accented our Sunday supper of grilled pork chops, roasted corn, and steamed broccoli. We ended the evening by watching the disturbing and revealing “COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out,” a special report on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta which featured six leading US health officials who spoke about their experiences responding to the coronavirus pandemic throughout the last year of the Trump administration.

Monday morning gave us yet another opportunity to gaze at the Worm Moon over the lake and listen to the birdsong before breaking camp and heading home for another few days. We’re already looking forward to returning next weekend for more sights and sounds of spring.