Paper white narcissi perfume the air and the sturdier later daffodils push both leaves and folded buds valiantly towards the sun. In my front yard, the lone fragrant hyacinth that returns year after year is already showing its tightly wrapped stalk, and if this warm weather holds, that those packed buds will soon fall out, open ice-cream pink and sweet.
The light has returned. That's all it takes to bring winter to its knees -- a soupcon of extra sun, splashed on the edges of each day. Just yesterday, I was walking up and down the streets of Albany, waiting for my car to be serviced, and passed magnolias stripped of their leaves when the sun retreated and the days grew dark, now suddenly alive with fuzzy green toes of folded leaves and fatter fists of pink that with the tiniest encouragement from the palest bit of sun, will soon unfold to exotic blooms.