Tall dry grasses and flower stalks rustle in a cool breeze with an electric chatter that, combined with an ice blue sky, suggest winter. Everything else at the Whitman Mission, however, screams, “Spring!”

At ground level, dandelions smile yellow and bright. In the bushes, song sparrows buzz and babble melodically. Beneath the trees, white-crowned sparrows chatter as they forage. Low over a stubbled field, a harrier tilts left, right, left, right, scanning for rodents busy with their own gleaning. Around the flowering cherry trees, warblers and tiny woodpeckers race haphazardly from insect to insect.

Spring is magical time in western Washington.