After apple petals all have fallen, late spring enters its glory, keeping the promises of March and April. Iris bloom quickly spreads across the country, and mock orange flowers squeeze out into the warmest afternoons, four or five days after the iris, about a week in advance of the peonies.
Everything happens so quickly between the end of March and the middle of May. Bare trees fill out, and the brown, silent earth comes completely alive. The feelings that move over me in the wake of all those changes range from joy to disappointment to a sense of being overwhelmed.
The season of Late Spring deepens when daddy longlegs begin hunting in the undergrowth and darners are out in the swamps. Cliff swallows migrate as buckeyes and lilacs and garlic mustard come into full bloom. Yellow wood sorrel blossoms in the yard, and the first cycle of cabbage moths is at its peak.
I have dreamed about self-sufficiency since I first wanted to run away from home. My fantasies became more intense as I grew older, and they were especially encouraged in the 1960s when I read my first copies of one of the great back-to-the-land magazines, Mother Earth News.
Late spring arrives when the antlers of deer begin to grow, when the first parsnips bloom, the first indigo bunting arrives, and bumble bees come out for pollen. The first blue jay is born in the first days of late spring, and all the garden weeds are sprouting. In the woods, wild phlox, wild geranium, wild ginger, celandine, spring cress, sedum, golden Alexander, thyme-leafed speedwell, garlic mustard and common fleabane are budding.
The effects of Middle Spring's rising temperatures and longer days are always cumulative. Suddenly, the tree line is greening. Maples, oaks, mulberries, locusts, trees of heaven, viburnums and ginkgoes send out their first leaves.