The days are longer now.  It’s not fully dark by six in the evening and late winter shrubs are coming into flower.  The short, stiff hazel catkins are extending and opening into the soft ‘lambs tails’ that will shed drifts of pollen in spring breezes.  They are maybe a little early, brought on by mild weather, but the protective scales of the catkins are still closed.

 

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Cornus mas (or Cornelian cherry) is right on schedule.  It’s one of those shrubs whose flowering is triggered by lengthening days, so the tiny, bright yellow flowers always open at the end of January in this part of the world.

 

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Square Paul-Painlevé yesterday was a good place to feel optimistic about the changing seasons, despite the disruption to weather patterns brought by global warming.  There were hellebores flowering under the hazel bushes, a blackbird scuffling around among the fallen leaves and sparrows gossiping in the evergreen bushes.  A mild day in late winter, with signs of approaching spring.  Just as it should be.

 

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Inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Optimistic