A cluster of daffodils sprouted boldly in my garden a few weeks ago during a warm spell. They've paused, but not retreated, with the return of the cold weather. The tightly rounded ends of the flower stalks are in the first stages of pregnancy, preparing to bloom when the warmth returns.
One of my tulip bulbs has sent up a single broad leaf, only half emerged from the ground. It looks for all the world like a green rabbit's ear, cocked and listening for the robins and spring peepers to say it's OK to come out and play.
Last week I heard a woodpecker pounding on a dead tree in the woods behind my house, defining his turf and warning all of the other woodpeckers to stay away. The robins (who don't really leave in the winter, they just flock up and retreat quietly into the woods) are stirring and they're starting to pair off. Soon we'll see the first nests being built, and we'll hear them fending off the jays as they tend their eggs.
The spring peepers were calling one balmy evening last week, possibly the very first sound of spring each year. I heard them again on the way to work the next day. They're quiet tonight, the first official night of spring per the calendar - did I hear someone mention snow? Can't last long though, can it? Not with the days getting longer and longer. They'll be back soon (the peepers). Can't keep a good tree frog down.
As much as I like winter (I'm strange that way), I look forward to spring, to the greening up of the world. I love the luscious, wet verdure of the mosses and the spring grasses, so thick and rich and soft to the touch. I feel like I wake up with the flowerbeds and stretch my limbs with the trees. I'm Snow White awakening from a long foggy trance, or Proserpina emerging from the dark realm.
One spring several years ago, there was a woodpecker who took it upon himself to pound out a tattoo like a gatling gun on the metal gutter by our bedroom each morning - bright and early, of course. Nature's little alarm clock. He really was just a few feet from my bed, with nothing but a flimsy tract-home wall between us. He'd take off as soon as I opened the window, but he always came back the next day. Can't wait to see who sets up shop in my yard this spring. I think they're already hanging out their signs.