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Poor Will's Almanack: March 22 - March 28, 2022

Carmack Woods Wetlands
Dan Keck
Flickr All Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the fifth week of early spring, the fourth week of the Black-Capped Chickadee Moon, the first week of the sun in Aries.

It's March 22, 1988. Escaping from my home in the chilly Ohio Valley, I drive to Early Summer in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I see the first greening of the roadside grasses near Cincinnati; Louisville is much the same.

By Bowling Green, Kentucky, 200 miles south, I notice a rapid shift in the color, hills brightening toward Tennessee, the landscape a week to ten days ahead of spring at home.

At Columbia, Tennessee, 400 miles south, two to three weeks from Ohio, I see the first flowering trees, and honeysuckle leaves emerging. In south central Tennessee, flowering crabs clearly in bloom, grass and pastures emerald green.

In Birmingham, Alabama, 500 miles south of home, it is late Middle Spring, the end of April, the canopy yellow green and opening, full of dogwoods, redbuds, crabs, pears in bloom. In Tuscaloosa, Spring is so far advanced that some of the pear trees are losing their petals.

On the outskirts of New Orleans, after a long day's drive of 900 miles, winter cress and dandelions are going to seed. Downtown, many trees have all their leaves, full size! Azaleas and camellias are in full bloom, Some yellow daylilies cluster in yards.. Throughout the city, wisteria, tulips, iris and phlox have passed their prime. June's crepe myrtles are blossoming. Frogs are croaking. Just a day from equinox, it's summer for sure.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of middle spring. In the meantime, relax. It's 1988, and you have escaped to the Gulf. You are surrounded by flowers. The breeze from the ocean is warm and comforting.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.