Like the slow spread of a blush, life is returning to the world. The telltale sign is colour leaching into things. The goldfinches on the feeder are now beginning to be olive rather than drab. The willows by the highway are yellowing up as if their branches had been dipped in chrome yellow. There's the faintest hint of pink in the stands of maple covering the stone outcrops in the farmers' fields. The pond ice is taking on designer tints; aquamarine and pistachio muddied just enough to be sophisticated. It's inevitable and inexorable.