Last Sunday, Punxsutawney Phil — the world’s most-famous prognosticating rodent — emerged from his not-so-secret lair on Groundhog Day and failed to see his shadow.

The result? Phil and his handlers are predicting an early spring this year.

And boy, do we ever hope they’re right.

Despite the wintry weather this week, we’re still crossing our fingers that the big marmot was right, and that spring will come extra-early this year.

To that end, here are five things we’re reeeeally looking forward to with the coming of warmer weather …

1. Outdoor concerts

Sure, indoor concerts are great, but there’s just something about sitting out under the stars — or under a bright blue sky — listening to music. And again this year there will be plenty of opportunities from which to choose. The Ogden Music Festival at Fort Buenaventura. The Ogden Twilight Concert Series in the Ogden Amphitheater. The Davis Arts Council’s Summer Nights with the Stars at Kenley Amphitheater. Snowbasin Resort’s Blues, Brews & BBQ on the lawn at Earl’s Lodge. And countless other outdoor concerts, big and small scattered throughout Northern Utah this summer.

Frankly, we miss listening to amazing musical artists from the comfort of our favorite lawn chair or blanket.

2. No shoveling snow

Sure, there’s grass to mow in the warming months, but at least once you finish mowing the front lawn, it stays that way for a week or so. The city doesn’t immediately come along and pile a bunch more uncut grass in your front yard.

Not that we’re bitter.

3. Outdoor movies

Almost as much fun as outdoor concerts is watching our favorite films on the big screen, al fresco. Fortunately, these days you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting another city or organization hosting some free outdoor summer movie in a park or amphitheater somewhere. True, they’re not exactly first-run films, but there’s no arguing that the price isn’t right.

We look forward to again kicking off our flip-flops and feeling the grass in our toes as we enjoy yet another showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Minions.”

4. Food trucks

Food that comes directly to us, at our favorite places? Yes, please!

While it’s true that you can track down such vehicular vittles during the winter, it takes a bit more hunting. But when the weather warms up, the food trucks come out of the woodwork and start showing up at all of our favorite places.

Burgers, tacos, corn dogs, waffles, noodles, pizza, barbecue, smoothies, ice cream — you name the dish, and odds are good someone has built a food truck around it.

5. Open windows

Following a particularly long, cold winter, the simple pleasure of an open window on a warm spring afternoon is nothing short of sublime.

After all, it’s been, like, four or five months since you last had those windows open. Do you even remember how to operate them?

Sure, central air is a must for the hot, humid, dog days of summer. But the rest of the time? Give us an open window with a screen, through which filters an ever-so-slight breeze, or the sound of crickets chirping after dark, or the rhythmic chhht-chhht-chhht sound of the neighbor’s impact sprinklers.

And let’s not forget that feeling of driving down the road with an open window. We can certainly understand why dogs love to stick their head out the window of a moving vehicle.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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