The first bees of the year buzz around a plant by the front door. Small, white, faintly sweet blossoms have appeared among its waxy green leaves. The shrub next to it now sports little purple berries. The afternoon sun has found the gap between pines and is illuminating the winter dust and cobwebs which have accumulated on the outside of my windowpane. I think I did catch the elusive scent of spurge laurel, but I can't be sure. It won't be long before I see puffs of pollen drifting like tiny clouds on the ever milder afternoon breezes. This being only the end of February's first week, this could be a false spring, but I have the feeling it isn't. The birds flying north appear to agree with my conclusions. Spring will be a little early this year.