Today's warm afternoon sun beckoned me to head up the Tower Trail, with a particular destination in mind. About this time every year, a few Claytonia rosea (spring beauty) plants decide that spring is too far away to wait, so they decide to bloom right in the middle of winter. I checked a week ago, and found some C. rosea leaves, nothing more. The last few days of very warm weather had me thinking the time may have arrived, and sure enough, there were 2 little flowers, smiling like it's the middle of May. We certainly need lots more winter (snow) so the spring offers a wide variety of flowery blooms, but seeing these little plants in bloom serve as a reminder that the planet is steadily marching towards the spring equinox and beyond.