Where I live, in Columbus, Ohio, it's been one tough long winter. A blanket of snow has hidden the earth's crust all winter it seems. February's snowfall was a record, and there's still a foot or so of the white stuff cloaking everything on this first day of March.
I like snow and winter, but am totally ready for the end. Needing a major botanical fix - and desperately seeking some sign of winter's end! - off I went to a local spring today at lunchtime. Bingo! Our first true wildflower of spring was in flawless condition in all of its fleshy elegance.
The liver-spotted horns of Skunk-cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, thrust from the mire of a central Ohio spring. It's right on schedule, a blanket of snow not being any impediment to its growth.
Take heart, when the Skunk-cabbage are in bloom, we are in winter's final death throes, and the rush of spring and all its life is hot on the skunk's heels.