The north-facing slope had patches of snow. So I walked along and explored the edges of several patches. I wanted to get some kind of photograph showing the wildflowers and the snow together. I wanted to be able to show the type of harsh conditions these delicate plants can endure. In this case, I found one of last year's hepatica leaves just beginning to appear along the edge of the melting patch of snow. The new growth is still protected underground but will likely emerge within the next few days--wrapped tightly by a layer of plant tissue (resembling a spike) that protects the delicate buds and stems within. One of the nice things about hepatica is that last year's leaves typically remain all year, so you can walk through the woods after the blooming season (summer, fall, or winter) and figure out where to look for it when the blooming season returns the following spring.