During this icy last week of February, I find myself beginning to long for Spring. As a native Michigander with Scandinavian roots I have always enjoyed winter; welcoming the opportunity to go inward, rest by the fire, witness the icy beauty of frozen trees in the sunlight, or take a warm bath after a brisk ski across open fields. But as winter drags on and temperatures don't climb beyond the 20s for many weeks, clouds blur my vision and instead of continuing to revel in the quietude of the present moment, I begin to actively search for signs of Spring, noticing the additional minutes of daylight, hearing bird songs that I swear I haven't heard since summertime, walking closer to trees to inspect for buds, squinting at a dark colored bird by the river, hoping to catch a glimpse of a red patch on its wing. At these times I feel extra compassion for those Northerners who struggle through winter from start to finish, for those who are homeless, work outdoors, or are having trouble paying their heating bills, and I gently guide my own anticipatory mind back to the present moment, back to here and now, in this last week of February. Nature is not yet gifting us with Spring and tempted as I may be to escape in a Southerly direction or grit my teeth, put my head down against the cold, and grudgingly endure the longevity of this winter, I intend to keep an inward gaze and live in accordance with nature's tides. Winter is still here and so am I; challenging as it may be, this is an opportunity for me to grow in patience, presence and trust.