I also admire it because it is one of the first, if not the first to green up in the spring. Weeping willows and hawthorns are also early leafers, and horse chestnuts and bird cherries follow on soon after. But some elders already have their leaves open and working in March.
I'm also looking forward to the big creamy umbels of flowers and the dark purple berries to follow. It's a great food plant for many small creatures.