These are new leaves coming out on cowslips (a/k/a marsh marigolds). They grow in clumps in swampy areas and bloom bright yellow early in the spring. They aren't typically the first flowers I see but they are the first sign of new growth each spring. Went looking for the somewhat distinctive skunk cabbage leaves. I know the specific areas where they come up each year. I've read articles about how skunk cabbage can make it's own heat and have seen pictures of it's leaves poking out of snow but they are a much later bloomer here. Maybe the articles were talking about skunk cabbage in areas where the ground doesn't freeze like our zone 3. Nope, rechecked and some sites specifically state skunk cabbage can generate enough heat to come up through frozen ground. I give up. The skunk cabbage here is defective because cowslips will have emerged, put on new leaves, and bloom by the time I see skunk cabbage.