I know this-- not because of the several feet of snow still melting in my yard...or the still twenty degree temperatures in the morning...or the snow that may still insist on falling. I know this because...
1. My husband cleared the snow off our deck! The other day, as he chipped at the last of the chunks of ice, he turned to me and said, "There. Your happy place is cleared." He knows me. He knows how much basking in the sun on our south-facing deck fills me with contentment, like it did today while I bundled up in a jacket because the air is still cool, but later stripped it off as the sun warmed me up, and wrote, longhand, in a notebook. Oh the sun felt delicious and warmed my heart.
2. I'm jogging again. As the winter slogs on, the temperatures fall, and the roads are in a perpetual state of snow and ice, I move my workouts indoors to the elliptical or even the pool. But nothing takes the place of being outdoors. As soon as the morning temps hit at least 20 degrees, I want out. I have been able to jog the last two weeks (ouch, did I ever feel that time off- whew!) and I'm loving it.
3. The birds are back! You've heard of the crazy cat lady (I think I know a couple of them on Facebook, actually). Well I'm the crazy bird lady. I love to keep my feeders filled with thistle and seed and the hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water. Soon my goldfinches will be back filling the trees with flashes of yellow and the western tanager back with its parrot like colors. But the true sign that the season has changed will be when the hummingbirds return and fill the air with the trill of their hyperactive wings.
4. The garden beds are still covered in crunchy white stuff, but here and there the muddy earth is poking through. I can hear the water sucking into the dirt, and I can smell the damp, loamy smell of soil. It's almost time to dig out my gardening gloves.
It will be a while before I can officially declare it spring in the mountains, no matter what the calendar declares. But just this morning, I walked out to my garage and had a conversation with my kayak hanging from its hooks on the ceiling. "It won't be long now," I reassured. "It's almost time. You just wait."