Skunk cabbage spathes aren't true flowers but they are the earliest to emerge from the snow. This one had just sprouted in a sunny patch where the snow had melted near the Kalamazoo River. I've read that skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) can actually produce its own heat to melt through the snow.
I teach economics at Kalamazoo College. My wife is also an economist. We were on sabbatical in Europe for the 2014-15 academic year. (Salamanca, Spain, followed by Oxford, UK.) We were in Uruguay for the 2006-7 academic year.