There is a good reason why I have Witch Hazel planted in my garden where I can see it from the house. Witch Hazel, bless it's wild and wonderful little heart, blooms here in New York, in late February and early March, just about the time I become desperate for a bit of color and some sign that spring is, indeed, on the way.
Another late winter clue comes from the birds. They begin chasing one another around the yard in a decidedly amorous way. Their winter silence is broken and an occasional song can be heard.
Inevitably, one damp and dreary winter morning, I will look out the window and notice that the sweet American Goldfinches, who turn a dull gray in winter are beginning to show traces of their coming yellow glory. Everyday they are a bit brighter!
Of course, in another week or two, there will be daffodils and other fancy stuff starting to bloom.
But right now, in spite of cold and wind and lingering piles of snow, thanks to the Witch Hazel and the Goldfinches, I can believe in spring!