All winter, I can look out my living room window and, through the trees, see the outline of the Chugach Mountains just a few miles to the east. Draped in white, the sun rises from behind them; in the evening, the sun's final light bathes them, reflecting pink alpenglow on the skyline.
Each spring, I can see the progression of melting as ridges develop sharp outlines, like line drawings in a coloring book, framing the receding snow. It is then that buds on the birch and cottonwood awaken, opening more each day, coaxed by spring's ever-increasing daylight. Sometimes I think they open so quickly that if I were to sit still long enough, quietly enough, I could hear and see the leaves unfurl on their branches. Smell the first scent of sap as it diffuses into the air.
No matter how slowly the spring seems to progress in the North, one morning I will look out the window and barely discern the mountains' outlines through the gaps between the trees, those spaces having been filled with thousands, millions, of unfurling green leaves. I welcome the color back to the monochrome world, anticipate the sticky sap tracked indoors on shoe soles and cat paws.