Yesterday when I was out with the horses, I watched one very determined mare stretch her neck through the wire fence toward a miniscule patch of green grass.

She honed in on the grass as if she had some top-secret military tracking device. In a way, I guess she did.

She had her instinct, which has kept horses alive for thousands of years.

Out of a sea of dead brown grass, she’d found this little clump of green. There wasn’t even enough for one healthy bite.

Instead, she seemed to be satisfied to simply stretch her lips so that they touched the tender green shoots.

And then she inhaled the aroma of spring.

It set me on a course for the entire day.

A course of noticing the tiny hints that spring is on the way.

Here’s what I found:

  • In town, the lawns have an aura of new green that seems to hover above the still-brown winter grass. It’s faint, but definitely there. When I look closely, I see patches of deep green, just below the surface.
  • Like a pregnant woman just beginning to show, the empty branches of forsythia and pussy willow have tiny, fat buds that are thickening every day.
  • In the flowerbed at the front of my house, a tiny purple crocus with two blooms has burst through her blanket of leaves. There are many points of green around her, getting ready to do the same.
  • The tulips are up several inches, as are the daffodils.

  • And as I walked toward my car last night after a meeting, I noticed the moisture in the air. For me this is unique to spring and summer, and different from winter snow, which often feels very dry.“Smells like rain,” I commented to my companion. “Sure does,” she replied.

I know that winter hasn’t finished with us. March is often Colorado’s snowiest month.

Yet it will be slightly different from January, when there is no hint of spring under the snow.

I’ve heard the whisperings.

Have you?