We awoke this morning to a winter scene in the river valley. A layer of snow coated rooftops and tree branches. Not unusual for this time of year. Even so, it came as a surprise during this unseasonable mild winter. This time last year, the river was thick with ice, and the trail was buried in snowdrifts. Today’s snow is not expected to last and is already dripping from the trees. Meanwhile, signs of spring are starting to appear. Our neighbors downriver reported the return of a mated pair of mallard ducks. Five years running, this pair has arrived at the onset of spring thaw, usually around mid-March. This year, they’ve arrived three weeks ahead of schedule without a spot of river ice to worry them.