There is light in the sky now, on the drive to work. It is a gradual thing this time of year -- an imperceptible creep, really -- but there is always that moment in February, just about now, when for some reason or another it suddenly becomes noticeable.
The high-beams cutting through the darkness fade, like a diva departing the stage. Pale, streaky daylight replaces them. It's the first real sign, celebrated rodents notwithstanding, that winter might be loosening its grip, that you can actually whisper the word "spring" and not have it feel like sacrilege.
Of course, there's also this: Pitchers and catchers are reporting.
Some of them did so on Sunday, some of them yesterday, but a whole lot of them, including your World Series champion Chicago Cubs, are reporting today, on Valentine's Day. And so, instead of candy and flowers, we'll all soon be getting something far more heartwarming: Photos of various Cub heroes standing on lush grass under the bright high sky of Arizona, all those greens and blues and beiges standing out like something not quite real after the monochromatic months of winter.
Hang the calendar. Spring has sprung.