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Stepping Out, Flying High and Grubbing for Worms

All that and more this issue in Bay Weekly

Illustrator Joe Barsin, whose work graces the cover of this edition of Bay Weekly, with perhaps his most recognizable work, the current Treasure the Chesapeake license plate.
       As the year turns, here we are in stepping-out season, when the young among us leave their nests. You can take that as a metaphor or as fact. 
       Generations of baby songbirds are already fledging, accounting for the increased volume of birdsong filling the air. Listen, and you’ll hear it.
       Read on in Bay Weekly, and you’ll learn that all those baby birds needed a diet of bugs to grow up strong and independent, from the egg to the wing in under a month. Oaks are a supermarket for those babies, hosting 500 kinds of caterpillars. That amazing fact you’ll learn in Margaret Barker’s story, Landscaping for the Birds, the Bees and the Bugs. 
       Humans are among all those young creatures leaving the nest as classes prepare for graduation in schools from nursery through university. Of all those young people a step more on their own, few will make the transition with more pomp and circumstance than those at the United States Naval Academy. The soaring Blue Angels U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squad jets through the sky to mark the height of their aspirations. 
      All of us beneath that sky raise our heads in recognition. As Shelby Conrad writes in The Season of Angels, it’s hard not to hear the engines of six F/A-18 Hornets roaring near Mach 1, the speed of sound.
       In recognition of that high-stepping occasion, Bay Weekly covers this week’s paper with the Blue Angels imagery of artist Joe Barsin. You may not know that graphic illustrator’s name, but you know his work. Barsin is the designer of the current Treasure the Chesapeake Maryland license plate and a finalist for what could be the new plate. You’ve seen his Citizen Pride’s Maryland-themed work in magnets, garden flags, stickers and doormats. This design, our second Barsin Blue Angels cover, features three planes soaring over the Fouled Anchor, with cable passing over and around it, a naval insignia worn by midshipmen. 
      With Angels flying over them and presidents sending them forth, Midshipmen step out into a more certain future than do many other graduates. Their four years at the Academy have combined leadership training and skill- and team-building with education all toward the purpose of making them military officers. Already they’ve got jobs they can build into careers far into the future. And they owe no college debt. In return for all that, they’ve vowed to put their lives on the line for America, so they have obligations equal to their benefits.
       Yet I can’t help wishing opportunity were as accessible to all our graduates — and that more of them were better prepared to make their own way into a world where they’re going to have to find their own worms. The Bay Gardener thinks the same way, so in this stepping out season, he’s written about his field, horticulture, as a line of work where everyday young people can make a living and make their mark.
    In this week’s paper, there’s all that and more, including stories to read, horoscopes to ponder, events to take you into the world, puzzles to tease your brain. So make sure your stepping out includes picking up Bay Weekly, lest you miss the action of life.