This is my twelfth winter in Vermont, and it’s possible that I have finally learned to adjust my expectations. It’s March, but I’m not looking for flowers outside. I’m looking for the subtler signs of early spring in New England.

1) It was 40 degrees last weekend and the sun was strong enough for warmth, not just light.

2) There’s still a lot of snow but the sidewalks are clear. Enormous improvement.

3) The snow is thin around the edges and it’s more crispy than fluffy. Lots of ice.

4) Birds. I rarely see them, but I can suddenly hear them.

5) Time change! Government-mandated sign of spring.

None of this really feels like spring spring for a North Carolina native, but I understand that you take it the way it comes around here. We’re heading in the right direction. Unfortunately for me, the early signs often come with one more bonus: more snow. I’m told we can expect 10 to 20 inches by Friday.

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