Some residents of Michigan find February’s usual snows and subzero temperatures to be a state of affairs to be endured, day by grey day. I, on the other hand, am content to let the storms blow through and the mercury dip. Unfortunately, this week brought the bit of February weather I find least pleasant – rain. Winter rains on top of 10″ of powder from last week’s snowfall makes for poor footing and muddy paths. Too, abrupt changes in temperature mean abrupt changes in pressure – and the wind that comes with them. The skunks have come out of their winter sleeping holes for a wander about in the unexpected warmth – although they’re sluggish and less able to avoid trouble. And the geese and swans are resting on the few remaining ice floes on the bayou. Not the raucous crowds of migrating party birds that will come later in the spring, but just the few, hardy feathered souls that spend their winters here. It doesn’t take very long at all for the sun to wake up some of the first little wisps of green – grasses and tiny plantains peek optimistically between the melting piles of snow. They’ll be covered over again by next week, but don’t seem to mind, inclined to bide their time a bit longer. Twigs litter the still-snowy forest floor. Evidence of the increasing winds. But soon enough the spring rains will begin in earnest and we’ll be looking for violets dotting the roots of the walnut trees.