Photo: Alex Wendes (Flickr)
Winter is usually ambivalent about departing here in the Lower Midwest. Bulb foliage pushes up during warm spells and then can be covered with a late snowfall.
Hard freezes do not harm daffodil bulbs, despite our anxiety, if their flowers have not yet emerged, and the early brave snowdrops and crocus flowers seem impervious to the vagaries of nature.
Ruth Arthur wrote a charming poem about the juxtaposition of the last vestiges of winter and the optimistic signs of spring, seen through the eyes of a child:
I heard the snowflakes whisper in the still dark night
And when I peeped at bedtime, all the roofs were white
Although the Pussy Willows their mittened buds unfold,
Although the hazel catkins are waving tails of gold,
Although the buds are bursting in the chestnuts by the gate,
And spring is in the country side—the snow came late!
I saw it in the twilight, and I looked for it at dawn,
But all I found were thrushes on the smooth green lawn.
All the roofs were twinkling and sparkling in the sun,
And myriad buds were waking and opening one by one,
And all that could remind me of snowflakes on the beds
Were clusterings of snowdrops, with whitely drooping heads.