The recent warming trend is continuing, and maybe Phil the Groundhog, whose "six more weeks of winter" prediction seemed insane at the time but prescient once a series of three snowstorms in a seven days paid us a visit, truly did get it wrong in 2017. Much of the snow is fast receding, and today, I could no longer ski on my backwoods trail; the gaps in the white are just too wide to navigate. The reappearance of leaf litter and moist ground is, for me, bittersweet: I didn't get in enough skiing and snowshoeing during this ridiculously short winter, which, from a weather perspective, lasted all of about two weeks. But there are benefits to the rapid demise, and one of them is the chance to see plants begin to grow again. In the less-tamed areas of my flower garden, the places I cede to more-or-less wildlings, it's now time to comb the just-uncovered soil for the first stirrings of Winter Aconite. Eranthis hyemalis is a pretty and diminutive member of the Buttercup family native to southern Europe and all the way through Asia, and it's beloved in gardens because of its ability to bloom exceptionally early, even right through the snow. The warmth has sent the hardy plants aboveground in a mere few hours. In short order, there'll be cheery yellow flowers opening to tempt the first pollinators.