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SNOW's melting and mud's forming in Vermont. Wildflowers are starting to embroider California's foothills. The various living things that herald spring - from crocuses to gnats - are stirring. This season comes as a yearly reminder that rebirth and life go on independently of the human turbulence that fills airwaves and newspaper columns. The sun rises higher and grass sprouts regardless of proclamations, treaties, and political contests.

But it's not as easy as it once was simply to revel in the season's warmth and color, finding assurance that things are all right after all. Nature's realm and mankind's have never been more clearly bound. What we do to protect a species, safeguard the ozone layer, rule out war, is in nature's interest too. We're more aware of this than ever - which in itself should bring an added bit of comfort to spring.

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