Along the side of the house, near the hose faucet, there's a patch of lawn worn bare from walking. It's where I watch for a particular, lowly sign of spring: worm castings.
They finally appeared this morning.
Neighborhood lawns are halfway between brown and green. Lilac buds are ready to burst. Columbine have started to unfurl their leaves. Tulips and daffodils are up, but not yet in bloom. Any day now, Prairie Smoke will blossom.
As the GreenGirls suggest, I've planted some cool-weather crops (peas and beets) in containers.
I am slowly clearing the garden beds of leaves I laid down last fall as winter mulch. It would be faster with a leaf blower, but as long as my knees work and I have time, I like doing it by hand. Being close to the dirt feels right. There's a certain pleasure in lifting matted leaves and uncovering a pale, purplish shoot of some half-forgotten perennial.