Forsythia in bloom has always ment spring for me. Real spring with warm days and shirtsleaves rolled up to my elbows, no more wooly scarfs. Time for linen pants and sandels, cardigan sweaters instead of puffy coats zipped up to my chin.
My mother recently told me that as a child, pussywillows always signaled freedom from winter for her. Now, I will always look for them. They are soft, fuzzy harbingers and they only last a few days before they open into yellow puffy flowers that float apart in the breeze, scattering themselves to the four winds.