From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Let It Burn

Burning one's socks at the spring equinox! photo by Al Schreitmueller
Burning one’s socks at the spring equinox! photo by Al Schreitmueller

Because we can see skin peeking through the worn heels of our socks. Because the stinky things itch. Because the spring equinox is as good a day as any for a ritual. Because Mother Nature has been extra cruel this year. Because we set up a little stone fire circle on the beach, or a decent backyard fire pit, or heck, even a bucket. And we like to set stuff on fire… and drink a beer with our friends and watch the smoke and sparks drift up to the sky. Because we can.

Because life is short, and winter is long. After breaking weather records and paying out the nose on heating bills and having to call off work because the kids didn’t have school again and watching hockey players and iceboaters fly by along rivers that haven’t frozen for decades, the bloody groundhog predicted six more weeks. No duh.

Because our bike tires are flat; our paddle boards are locked up; and our kayaks crawl with spiders. Because this winter made us cranky. We’ll go nuts if we don’t get back out on the water soon. Burning stuff will make us feel better. Taking off these gnarly socks and placing our soft feet on the cold gravel, as we awkwardly walk to the fire pit and throw them in the flames, is a feeling we remember, one that makes us a little giddy, gives us that sensation of almost there.

Because sailors love an excuse for a party. Because it’s a tradition in Chesapeake Country and a working man’s tradition at that. Show up just before sunset. Gather around a modest fire. Burn your socks. Lift your beer (it’s supposed to be a long-necked Bud), make a toast to spring with friends. Watch the smoke and sparks drift up to the sky. Go home at sunset.

Because, finally, officially, for real, on the SpinSheet calendar, as on the international evening news, it’s spring. Because that’s what we sailors do. Burn our socks at the equinox. Bring it.


The spring equinox unfolds at 12:57 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 20.

Two Must-Attend Annapolis Events
If you’ve been itching to get your fix of the Chesapeake Bay, there’s no need to wait until summer is in full swing. Two terrific spring events welcome anyone and everyone who likes to hang out along the water and do as the locals do.

Oyster Roast and Sock Burning. On March 22, from noon to 4 p.m., all are welcome at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in the Eastport section of Annapolis along Back Creek for its annual sock burning, oyster roasting extravaganza, with live music with local favorites Them Eastport Oyster Boys. Show your shucking prowess in the oyster shucking contest, take a skipjack ride, or just drink beer and burn your wintry socks on the beach. General admission costs $25; People’s choice tickets cost $50 (sample oyster dishes from eight area restaurants and vote for your favorite); skipjack rides $20. Click to or call (410) 295-0401 for tickets.

SpinSheet Crew Party and Start Sailing Now Q&A   For 18 years in a row, the folks at SpinSheet, the Chesapeake Bay’s sailing magazine, have hosted a crew party to help sailors of all skill levels find boats to sail on for the upcoming season. The event is free and open to the public. Come on down to the Annapolis Maritime Museum Sunday, April 27, from 4-6 p.m. and enjoy free beverages, live steel drum music, and a lot of sailing talk. Newcomers to the sport should show up on hour early, at 3 p.m., for a lively Start Sailing Now Q&A with local sailing experts, who will share all they know about how to get started in the sport. SpinSheet editor and OTC contributor Molly Winans will moderate the discussion. Visit or call (410) 216-9309 for more information.

Written by: Molly Winans

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