Winter comes and goes too quickly. I love the snow and the chill and the heavy clouded skies shot through with sunbeams, shedding snowflakes like tears of joy, and frosted, laughing breezes scattering the ice and snow and creating a second snowstorm. I love the vim and vigor of wintertime, when the earth itself is fast asleep but the air is bursting with mischief, and what creatures dare to brave the cold are full of life and energy.Our last days of winter trickled past like a melting stream – Winter, with spring interspersed, days of chill and frost and fog and snow intermixed with days of warm sun, warm breezes, and a cool, blue sky. Snow still lingered in the sheltered places on the north sides of hills, or on the banks of the creeks down where the sun doesn’t reach, but elsewhere the springtime is bursting out with new life and fresh vitality.Down by Battle Creek at Big Falls, catkins, like gold-green pendants, hung in delicate grace on the limbs of shrubby trees, and the grass is greening up beneath last year’s brown. The gold of last summer’s rabbit brush still catches the sunlight, but new growth will come up soon to replace the old.The passing of winter is bittersweet. We likely will get more snow this next month or so, but the sparkling beauty of winter is past, the earth too warm to preserve frost or snow for long. And it isn’t just the snow, but the mood of the winter. The silvery silence, the frosty sunlight, the laughing, sparkling mornings, the clear, cold starlight. It is seeing my breath in the frozen air, coming in from outside to thaw, the fiery tingling in my fingers as they start to warm up again, the sound of a fire crackling in the woodstove, the layers of blankets to keep cozy at night. But springtime has honeyed the air, with the musky-sweet of thawing ground and moldering leaves, the delicious savor of pine sap, fragrant in the warming air.The last days of winter have wafted by like a spent but sweet breeze. And spring is now here.