The tiny white blossoms of snowdrops push up through frozen soil to announce the unofficial end of winter.
Sure there's plenty of snow and cold left, but once the snowdrops flower, there's no turning back; somethings has bloomed!
One of the reasons diminutive snowdrop bulbs are planted near the house each fall is to see them in their glory as early as possible. Last season they poked through in mid-January, but this is more typical of their bloom time.
While running out the front door I caught a glimpse of white against the wet, brown oak leaves littering a narrow patch of dirt between the house and sidewalk. It's always such a wonderful surprise, especially after this tough winter.
The flowers barely stand above the soil and are only a quarter inch long. If they bloomed in July, it wouldn't matter, but as I laid on the cold stone sidewalk photographing these wonders of nature, all I could do was smile.
They are prelude to the sweet sounds, smells and sights of spring.