Spring Sings

Our weekend at Loyd Park included the first day of Spring, accompanied by a symphony of birdsong. The warm weather allowed us to enjoy gentle breezes through open windows, visits from a mallard couple just outside our door, and persistent pecks from a pesky cardinal. The budding trees, greening grass, and blooming flowers all conspired to change the season by force of nature, and we were happy to bear witness.

We arrived late on Friday, primarily because Jon worked late preparing announcements for Match Day. For the uninitiated, Match Day is a big deal, especially for someone like Jon who works as a communications coordinator in a large Internal Medicine department in a renowned academic medical center. He was tasked with announcing the 68 individuals from 45 different medical schools (including seven international medical schools) who had been successfully recruited for Internal Medicine residency training at UT Southwestern.

For some context, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) began 70 years ago as a technical solution to the practical problem of finding desirable internships for graduating medical students. That year, there were 5,798 applicants and 10,414 available residency positions, creating pressure for hospitals to fill positions quickly. Hospitals made “exploding” offers, expecting immediate decisions. It was this pressure that led to the creation of the NRMP. The Match gave prospective residents the time to review multiple offers without having to sequentially accept or reject them. Over the next few decades, while the number of applicants and available positions increased, the number of applicants began to exceed the number of obtainable positions. This year, there were 47,675 applicants and 39,205 positions across all medical specialties.

Last weekend’s time change meant our arrival at 6 p.m. gave us more than enough daylight to get set up, take the dogs for a walk, and fire up the BGE — all before dusk. Chef Cliff then grilled a tenderloin steak, asparagus and peppers, adding a baked potato and our favorite Ravenswood old vine zinfandel for an ideal Date Night dinner.

Saturday found us brunching under the picnic pavilion, walking around the camping loop, strolling through the Be Happy Chili Cookoff, napping through the late afternoon, and spending time with neighboring campers Rhonda and Gary. As Jon prepared the campfire, Chef Cliff grilled chicken, peppers and tomatoes, adding steamed cob corn and our Chilean cabernet for a late dinner under the pavilion.

Our sunny, breezy Sunday had its usual rituals: watching “Sunday Today” and “CBS Sunday Morning,” enjoying Bloody Mary’s, reading The New York Times, brunching under the pavilion, napping through the afternoon, and, finally, packing up to head back to Hampshire.

We’re constantly amazed at how predictable we’ve become, although we probably shouldn’t be. Given the fact that we both emerged from unstable childhoods, it’s really no surprise. Cliff chose military life; Jon chose monastic life. Both lifestyles led us to where we are today. We’re now at that time in our lives when we look back and ahead simultaneously, taking stock of all we’ve accomplished while also giving thought to all that remains to be done. Dreams will come and go, with new ones emerging day-by-day. Where will we go from here? Who knows?