Hellebore niger, also called Christmas rose, is blooming now. I much prefer niger to the usual Hellebore orientalis, which blooms later. The "Christmas rose" can be found at my food co-op in December, but in the spring i can't find it anywhere.
The niger blossoms face out as opposed to the facing-down flowers of orientalis. Perhaps orientalis is shy? Perhaps it doesn't want to look me straight in the eye?
When we gaze into someone's eyes for several seconds, we receive a burst of oxytocin--the bonding hormone. As a result, we feel warm and friendly and maybe even love for the other.
Try gazing at a dear one for a few seconds longer than usual. Or be really daring and gaze at someone you don't know very well. How does that feel?
When Hellebore niger blooms so early in the sprint, it's a sight for sore eyes.