The person who decided to schedule the first day of the year in the dead of winter knew exactly what he was doing. There is an undeniable beauty to the winter season, but there is something about the short days and dark clouds that depress me. The shortest day of the year usually falls on December twenty-first, and then they start, slowly and agonizingly, to get longer. The tiny increase in the amount of sunlight over the next two weeks causes magical things to happen. The first buds appear on sheltered trees, and hearty sprigs of winter grass poke through the dead leaves in the forest. I am not a poet but there is something about the impending miracles of spring that tempt me to try my hand at writing just a few verses. Something, perhaps, that would describe the beauty of the first buttercup spears, the song of a Robin perched on top of a gatepost, or the distinctive smell of the slowly warming earth. Nature has a remarkable patience that poets have commented on for untold centuries─ but I am patient, too, and I shall watch and I shall wait . . .