There have been signs that we might finally be out of winter, which has been hanging around throwing snow and yelling "GOTCHA!" a lot this year. Some are good, some are...well, not so good.
On the good side, the male mourning cloak butterfly is flying his serious little patrol around the house. He is a very militant butterfly. Other mourning cloaks are driven off with extreme prejudice (or at least a lot of circling and furious fluttering) and then he goes back to his careful clockwise patrol, presumably humming tiny insectile marching songs to himself. There has been a male mourning cloak here every spring, and while I know that it can't be the same butterfly, I have to assume it's a descendant.
On the bad side, I picked the first flea off Gir's ear. Sigh. Can tick season be far behind?
And the juncos are growing scarcer. I never notice them leaving or anything, it's just one day I look up and go "Huh. The juncos aren't around any more." I saw them last week, there's probably a few mixed in with the flock that hangs out in the boxwoods and flies frantically in all directions when I come up the walkway, but they are no longer the primary components.
Things are coming up in the garden. I've said it before, I'll say it again--no matter HOW often that happens, it still seems like magic to me. Not everything is coming up--I suspect the one salvia died the death, and my phlox should be out by now, so there's a chunk of bed I'll be replanting. But the strawberries are coming up (weakly, and annhilated by deer) and the chives are leaping back to life and the red hot poker, which I planted purely on a whim, is sending up pallid green shoots. The Texas sage and the milkweed never really died off at all, and the butterfly bush is a scraggly mass of gray-green. (Which I may have stunted by pruning at the wrong season. Damn. Well, we'll see...) Lots of the bushes have tight little buds (or did, before the deer got 'em.) And a fair number of other plants are getting the little halo of green leaflets around the spikes of last year's stems, most of which are nearly invisible under the carpet of pine needles--I lift up the needles and there are tiny green shoots.
Some old friends I haven't seen yet, and have to hope--the anise hyssop, the chocolate snakeroot--but we're definitely getting some survivors--probably more than I deserve, with my skills. Every plant that I find made it through the winter makes me want to crow and dance around and grab SOMEBODY and drag them out and go "Look! Look! IT CAME BACK!" as if perennials were a herd of puppies dropped randomly along the interstate and expected to find their way home.