It was not the red-tailed hawk that flew just over my car when I turned up my road yesterday or the flicker that disappeared into the woods, and it wasn't even the turkey gobbling to its harem in the meadow last night that told me spring had finally arrived.
It was the mockingbird running through its repertoire just outside my bedroom window first thing this morning and the spring peepers down by the creek calling out Spring! Spring! Spring! But mostly it was the fact that the window was open, that the night was warm enough to merit opening up the house and hearing the turkeys and the mockingbirds and the spring peepers--and, yes, the hawk shrieking out by the edge of the woods and the sudden early cacophony of birds finding their spring voices.
I saw a bright red male cardinal offer a sunflower seed to a female the other day and I wondered what other signs of spring I'll find. This morning I'll go hunting for bloodroot and other early wildflowers. My photo files tell me that last year on March 27 I found spring beauties and rue anemone blooming here and trout lily leaves poking up at the edge of the meadow, but I didn't find the first bloodroot until April 1. What will I find today? Considering that the whole place was covered with snow a week ago, maybe nothing.
But that won't stop me from setting out to search. And that's the clearest sign of spring: the annual search to find its signs.