Raking stones is like mowing the lawn or cleaning bathrooms. When you are done, you can see that you've achieved something. The snow plow keeps us from being marooned, and we are grateful. But it also flicks thousands of stones from the driveway onto the lawn and when the snowbanks finally melt, there they are. Little monsters that must be moved with a rake or the lawnmower will be going cling, cling, clank all the way to the road. So the raking begins. If it has a nice side, besides looking at the cleared lawn just up the hill, it's that the air finally has more than a touch of spring in it, the daffodil shoots are poking through leaf cover, and a female bluebird is looking coyly (can birds be coy -- well, her head is cocked to the side like any great flirt) at the male on the branch beside her. For all we know, she's wondering why he gets the best clothes.