It’s sleeting in the Hill Country, with mini-icicles on gates and cedars. Still, little rosettes of bluebonnet leaves are huddled on the caliche, waiting for warmth. Last Friday, before the sleet, I found a straggly but magical bush of chimonanthus praecox luteus blooming on a street in west Austin. And, Gentle Readers, I admit I snitched a small sprig, because the haunting scent has to be held and sniffed to be believed.

Joyful moments: La Follia, presenting all four concerti of Vivaldi’s The Seasons, with his companion sonnets! Never again will I not know those are little birds in the Spring concerto.

Reading: A. E. Housman’s prose. Why? His mordant hyper-academic textual criticism of Latin love poetry gave him critical acclaim, but the lasting “monument” he desired turned out, ironically, to be his much beloved poetry. If you get the chance, see Tom Stoppard’s play “The Invention of Love,” wonderfully produced until March 8, 2015, at the Long Center in Austin by Austin Shakespeare. (Disclosure: I’m prejudiced in favor of Austin Shakespeare.)

Also reading: finished Charles C. Mann’s 1491: “New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.” Was everything I learned in history of the Americas just wrong? Apparently – the Columbian Exchange (European bacilli in exchange for American tobacco, beans, peppers, tomatoes and chocolate) left a landscape we misinterpreted. Yes, the native Americans in north, middle and south America energetically managed their landscapes in ways that weren’t understood. Fascinating book!