Pots of tea and the wood burning stove have been my staunch allies in relaxing winter's grey, icy grip, during this most recent cold snap here in Chicago. I find myself dreaming of spring and green mossy patches. This last fall while cleaning up the yard and stacking wood, I turned over a big chunk of bark. I crouched down and marveled at the little micro ecosystem of moss, fungus, lichens, pill bugs, and snails. I don't know how snails and pill bugs fare during cold months, but I'd like to think they'll be waiting under that piece of bark once everything thaws and the world begins to green up again.