There are some sure signs spring is on the way. Camellias and azaleas are blooming, the red buds are glorious and the days are becoming incrementally longer as the weeks go by. Lent begins with March 6 with Ash Wednesday. Daylight Saving Time begins March 10 — remember to “spring forward” one hour — and the Christ Church Tour of Homes is the topic of this issue’s centerpiece.

First, Daylight Saving Time. Obviously, I’m a fan of daylight lasting well into the evening hours. Like many of you, I enjoy walking my dogs, or riding my bike, but the shortage of daylight in the winter, combined with being gainfully employed, cuts into some valuable recreation time. The downside for me is that when I spring forward, I feel it all the way to my soul. I treasure my sleep, and I spend the entire week following the switch to DST looking for that lost hour of sleep, like Jimmy Buffet searches for his lost shaker of salt.

I love the discipline of Lent. I don’t attend church as regularly as I should, but Lent is so deeply ingrained in me, I can’t imagine not observing it. I like its quiet, contemplative nature, with time reserved for thought and reflection. It’s the opposite of the joyfulness of Advent in its mood, but yet, anticipation — for the resurrection of Jesus Christ — is at its center too. In this hurried and harried world, 40 days of leaning in to a spiritual practice may be just what the doctor ordered.

Then, there’s the Christ Church Tour of Homes on March 16. I know lots of areas have home tours, but I doubt anyplace has such a diverse selection, from the casual to the most upscale formal one can imagine. I look forward to this every year, and have been volunteering now for about 10 years. It’s a great way to help local charities, and you get to peek behind the front doors and garden gates of some fabulous homes. Great decorating and landscaping ideas abound!

Between my three-week-long illness in February, which I like to refer to as “the plague,” and the constant construction between home and work, it’s been a challenging winter. I can gripe and grouse with the best of them, but it serves absolutely no purpose. Other than that one morning it took me 40 minutes to get from Bennie’s Red Barn to Redfern Village, it hasn’t been that bad. And, it got me to thinking. Here I am, sitting in a relatively new air-conditioned car with a great sound system. I can talk (hands-free, of course, officer) while I’m traffic, so I can continue to do my work. The inconvenience that the construction we voted for is minor — a first world problem.

I do have a couple of traffic gripes though. You knew this was coming, right? Do not stop your vehicle in an intersection, especially ones controlled by traffic signals. Be cognizant of other drivers who need to feed into the main traffic arteries. And other thing. Were the cyclists/walkers/joggers/runners who use the multi-purpose path never taught to look both ways before crossing a street? When I use the path, I stop at each cross street and make sure I’m in the clear before proceeding. This is how I was taught, and it’s served me well for a little over half a century. I’ll jump off my soapbox, but for Pete’s sake, be safe out there. You are no match for a vehicle.

Like I said, spring is on its way. Also in this issue is some fabulous advice and recommendations from our columnists, tons of pictures of people you know, and an up-to-date calendar with full of all the goings on you’ll want to attend.

On a personal note, I would like to thank John Hartland, caretaker at Musgrove Retreat & Conference Center, and Nicole Bagley, of the Brenn Foundation, for giving Coastal Illustrated access to the main house and grounds for this issue’s cover photo.

Enjoy the issue!