Here's how I reckon Spring:
In January, around the 15th, Spring begins as a sound. "Hey, sweetie" sing the chickadees. "Peeter Peeter" says the titmouse.
Sometime in February spring begins as a smell. Skunk Cabbage sticks its horns up through the ice, snow or slush. They are marbled in burgundy and citron, and each contains a weird cabbage-brain of a flower. In the low banks of forest streams I step cautiously in the spectacular alien minefield of Skunk Cabbage flowers.
In March Spring begins as a feeling. Warm air brushes skin newly bared. Somewhere in here an equinox happens and the calendars blandly declare a change of season.
Here's how Spring really arrives: it emerges from the Earth.
Spring emerges as spring beauty flowers, as violet leaves unfurling, as toothwort appearing from beneath the sleep of leaves and brittle twigs.
In case I'm being coy: today I saw the first Spring Beauty flower of the year! It was at the Cedar Ridge Preserve, Jim and I saw it right after we finished lunch. For me, this means spring has begun.