We have just enough snow this year to frame the snowdrops. Our yard has two clusters of snowdrops: one under the eaves, and one in the tiny patch of grass between our Japanese maple and burning bush. Some years, both clusters bloom; other years, one or both are buried in snow. I often wonder what it’s like to be a snowdrop living an entirely subterranean existence for most of the year, waiting blindly for a spring that may never come.

What do the snowdrops do when they are blanketed in deep snow? Do they sprout regardless, bruising their leafy heads on an unforgiving ceiling of snow? Or do bulbs wake only when the sun herself warms the earth they sleep in, some slumbers lasting years rather than months while perennial hopes lie buried and waiting?