Slowly, the clouds withdraw, unveiling the full moon. The soft landscape is replaced by bright glare and stark shadows. Flocks of waterfowl fly north, their calls filling the dark woodlands and ghostly fields. The scent of the late rains lingers in the cool air. It is a green smell. So abundant has this winter's rain been, and so mild the temperature, that the grasses have endured no extended period of being brown. The uncommon lightness of the season's tread has kept things growing, and there has been no lethargic, moribund time such as these months usually bring. Only the absence of leaves on the trees, the length of day's shadows, and that high winter moon have confirmed that January and February have been passing. Weeks from the equinox, the days already threaten to warm, and release the pent energy from the land. The departing migrants in the night sky display their belief that it will be so. Poor winter, shorn of all its power, will soon follow those flocks, I suspect. Never before have I mourned the passing of winter, but I now, to my surprise, and despite my greater affection for spring, feel sadness for this season's impending demise. It was weak, and now threatens to die never having reached full maturity. More birds now fly north, sounding happy to sing winter a funeral dirge.