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Poor Will's Almanack: March 28 - April 3

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) is a genus of perennial bulbous plants native to Eurasia that produce spikes of dense, most commonly blue, urn-shaped flowers resembling bunches of grapes in the spring. The common name for the genus is Grape Hyacinth. Some people call these Blue Bells, but in Northeastern Ohio that name is usually used to refer to another flower -- Hyacinthoides non-scripts, the 'Common Bluebell.'
Jack Pearce

Poor Will’s Almanack for first week of  Middle Spring, the second week of the Daffodil Moon, the second week of the Sun in Aries.

When I began to take notes about what I saw in nature (as I tried to beat my addiction to nicotine), I kept finding things that so many other people had found.

I spent my first tobacco-free spring identifying the wildflowers I came across in the woods. Placing their names in my notebook and the shapes and scents in my memory, I accumulated a new universe of living things and ideas. Guided by books and photographs that others had made long before this odyssey of mine, I made a world that belonged just to me.

There was no objective originality in the naming that I did, and what did it matter: I was enchanted by the world of first times. The floor of the woods was not so much uncharted where I walked; the mysterious tabula rasa was, instead, my own mind. I wrote messages to myself from first sight, first touch, first understanding. There was no context except my own desire and excitement. There was no way I needed to (or could) connect all the dots of ecology and botany and biology. Everything was free and finite. Meaning was simple. Everything was what it appeared to be.

I came to feel there is only one traveler on the first road, crowded as it may be. And although the simple discoveries of the journey may be shared, they need not be shared as fact or science but rather as unjuried gifts to others as adrift and open as the one who shares.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Middle Spring. In the meantime, take a walk into middle spring, find your own new universe, maybe for the first time.

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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.