More relative warmth. More sun. More melting. More surprises. Early this afternoon I was taking my neighbor's dog for a walk, and we always sample the area around the upper part of the Noah-sized stream. Freda sniffed something interesting by the water's edge, and while I held her secure and protected the pooch from bolting, I noticed an intrigue of my own. Emerging from the shallows was a Skunk Cabbage spathe, the hood that protects and hides the plant's flower. As I've written in other Februaries, Skunk Cabbage blossoms have the amazing ability to make and regulate their own heat. In a more typical second month of the year, the flowers would be melting their way through the snow, but in this mostly snowless February, perhaps the warmth the hidden blooms generate is keeping them from contracting a form of botanical hypothermia in the frigid water.