Bare earth was visible last weekend after heavy rains washed away snow and ice, and Islanders came out like so many bears from winter caves, blinking in the sunlight. Streams are swollen and rushing and tiny green things are bravely poking up through the cold ground: skunk cabbage, early spring bulbs, even the pale nub ends of daylilies are visible in south-facing spots warmed by the sun.

On downtown streets, winter’s legacy includes sidewalks covered with a fine layer of grit and sand thrown up by the plows and trucks as they cleared roadways, wasn’t it on a daily basis this year? Downed tree limbs and a soggy stray mitten looking forlorn without its mate complete the late winter tableau.

It’s not over yet and the forecast calls for March to come in like a lion with more snow and cold temperatures. But strengthening daylight is the hedge and with spring in the near future we can say with gusto: goodbye to February and all that!