The small tree at the end of the block, so recently festooned with Christmas lights, has erupted in pink blossoms. Three of last year's mulberry leaves, now yellow and pocked, still cling to a twig outside my window. A few feet away, the red splashes of blooming camellias shine among the deep green leaves. At the corner of the house, the bare twigs of the peach tree are visited by several small, pale-breasted, gray birds with black heads, who flutter and flash in the pearly light of overcast day. Their twittering is joined by the chuckles of a woodpecker who periodically sets up a clatter as he drills into a nearby pine, and by the squawks of blue jays. Streaks of brighter cloud and blue sky hover in the west, where patches of late afternoon light streak down to warm the valley's fields and orchards, but here on the mountainside, the wintry air prevails, however much the first thrusts of spring express their defiant resolve. Now and then, a drifting patch of cloud less dense will pass a brilliant solar glow sufficient to cast wan shadows of bare branches, but the sun itself remains concealed. The strange mingling of seasons is all memory and anticipation, like waking from a dissolving dream.