No matter what sorts of things are happening in the world, nature has a funny way of rolling along unaffected.

It’s kind of comforting in a time of uncertainty.

When asked to pick my favorite season, I usually tell people I live in a place with four seasons for a reason. I genuinely don’t have a favorite, but there is something special about when the first signs of spring emerge – especially when winter was kind of a bust.

This year, we didn’t have a single useful snowfall at my house during the actual winter. (We got one storm at the end of autumn and on the one day it was good snowshoeing weather, I was stuck at work, and then everything melted.)

I keep track of these things now because I bought a pair of snowshoes two years ago, and I have never used these snowshoes. And now that spring is fast approaching, it’s time to say: Well, maybe next year on the snowshoes.

Here is my definitive list of the ways we know it’s about to be spring. Throw out your calendar; you don’t need it anymore with this list handy!

1) The ratio of runs in pants to runs in shorts is gradually tipping towards shorts. I was probably at 2:1 a couple of weeks ago, and now I’d say I’m at 1:1 over the past week. It’s still long-sleeve weather in the shirt department but the tank tops will be out soon enough.

2) The spring flowers are out in full bloom. I saw a few batches of crocuses had popped up along the sidewalk when I was out running last week. My social media friends have been sharing their daffodils, and my one stubborn tulip has two leaves sticking out of the ground. We planted a bunch of tulips when we moved into our house 17 years ago, and the deer ate all except just one. Usually one or two leaves come up and that’s it, but last year it actually bloomed. I’m hoping we make this two in a row.

3) Last week I got brave and wore open-toed shoes to work. It was a little chilly on the way in but I thought it would be warm enough by the afternoon. The temperature turned out to be the least of my shoe-related worries when a coworker stepped on my foot and broke off a chunk of my toenail. I think he felt worse about it than I did.

4) The day of the toenail incident, I got home to discover that the street sweeper had been through our neighborhood, another sure sign of warmer weather to come. Now I just have to go out and sweep all of the road out of my driveway!

5) As I look out my back door, the grass gets a little greener every day. Around here anyway, we go from a mix of green and brown to “where did this field come from” in about a week, so we’re not far from lawn mowing time.

6) The final thing on my ‚Äúspring is springing” list is my dogs. In the winter when it’s sunny, it’s like a revolving door of wanting to go out because it looks nice and then wanting to come in because it’s cold. When we get that first day when they go out and flop on the porch, spring is definitely knocking on our door. We had that day on Saturday.

So there you have it. The unofficial and certainly not scientific list of proof that winter will loosen its grasp on us soon enough.

Here’s to warmer weather, fresh air, and better days ahead for all of us!