Sure sign of spring – Lissa and I rode bikes out past the Bueno Chile plant, past the junkyard with the line of old Volkswagen vans along its back fence, our first long ride of the spring. The winter birds you sometimes see in the farmers’ fields down there, in Albuquerque’s South Valley, are gone, replaced by carefully leveled fields awaiting their seed. The cottonwoods aren’t greening up yet, but the elms, evil invaders that they are, show signs of leaves sprouting.

The air had the soft feeling of the first sunny day after a week of rain, which is a feeling we don’t often get here. We saw ducks in the ditch splashing and flailing and trying to make new ducks, a squirrel running along the ditch bank, a load of fresh graffiti down by the elementary school – all trappings of spring.