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Signs now beginning to sprout

With all that's going on, it's impossible to miss fact spring is not far off

It's coming. Slowly, but it is.

The signs are out there - and increasingly so. The sun is still above the horizon when I get off the bus after work. Bits of green are beginning to point through the surface in the garden.

The scarf makes me feel a little too warm when I'm walking to the store.

There are posters around town reminding children and their parents that baseball season is coming. There is hollering in the Frisbee park. There are teens on the practice putting green at the local course.

They do not have umbrellas or rain pants or jackets.

Down the block, a ragtag mix of boys and girls has assembled with their hockey sticks and nets and plastic balls. No mittens or toques for these kids. They're wearing T-shirts and ball caps and jeans.

A month, even two weeks ago, they wouldn't have been there.

Nor would the teenaged girls standing outside the supermarket.

"We're raising money for our softball team!" they chorus when I approach, jingling their cans of coins.

"We're going to a tournament in March!"

It's coming, once again, and it's impossible not to notice.

There's a smell in the air that's hard to describe. It's sweet and earthy and pungent. It seems you can almost taste it.

There are birds - I have no idea of their names - perched on the branches of the cedar trees in the yard. They are singing or chatting with each other or talking to themselves. I swear they weren't here last week.

"Have you felt it?" I ask the husband. We are doing what we haven't done for months: taking a neighbourhood walk after dinner. "Spring? Have you noticed?"

"Absolutely," he says. "But only days ago."

We're not alone. Puppies, leashed up and trotting briskly beside their owners, introduce themselves as we pass them. Couples amble by arm in arm. Weeks ago, they would still have been in hibernation, opting for cocoa and Scrabble over the elements outside.

But ever so slowly, the temperature is moving away from winter. Ever so incrementally, the days are becoming lighter at either end.

Ever so slowly, I'm starting to ponder things I hadn't thought of weeks ago. Should the lawn mower go in for its servicing soon? Should we be thinking of staining the deck?

There's time for those considerations, but they're starting to arrive. One by one, ever so slowly.

I swept the driveway yesterday. And I felt - of all things - warm.