The hopefulness of spring begins around the middle of January for those who live in the north country. Although many don't openly admit it, we begin thinking that we are on the "downhill" slide of winter, and there is a hidden feeling of hopefulness that is born within us. It is a positive feeling, even if the snow is blowing outside and the wind is howling. We begin to realize it is only temporary and we will soon be able to start thinking of new growth, warmer weather, and less time spent "bundling up" before stepping outside. The first sign for me is when I get into the car, fasten my seatbelt, and notice there is more room between me and the steering wheel. The coat is less bulky, even if I'm not. What a great feeling that is! To what can I compare this feeling of hopefulness?