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Poor Will's Almanack: April 17 - 23, 2012

Flickr Creative Commons user Beedle Um Bum

Poor Will’s Almanack for the fourth week of Middle Spring, the week of Cross-Quarter Day, April 21st.

Surely, there is a great Word being put together here, writes Wendell Berry, "I begin to hear it gather in the opening of the flowers and the leafing-out of the trees.... in my thoughts, moving in the hill's flesh.

The great Word Berry invokes continues to be spoken throughout this week of Cross Quarter Day, when the sun enters Taurus and reaches halfway to equinox and when, on the same day, the old Cabbage Butterfly Moon becomes the new Frog and Toad Mating Moon, moving high overhead at noon, and telling every gardener and farmer to be planting.

In the woodlots and parks, phlox and ragwort are purple and gold. May apples are flowering. Wild ginger, meadow rue, bellwort, the Jack-in-the pulpit, and thyme-leafed speedwell are blossoming.

On the farm, some orchard grass and rye are ready to harvest, and bluegrass is budding. Weborms and tent caterpillars are emerging in the fruit trees, and weevils appear in the lanky alfalfa. Red and white clover open in the pasture.

Around town, Mock Orange Season, Korean Lilac Season and Honeysuckle Season announce the most fragrant time of year. Iris, poppies and peonies complement the fragrance. Clematis season graces garden trellises. Lily-of-the-Valley and Star of Bethlehem open beneath them.

Along the freeways, daisies, yellow sweet clover, meadow goat’s beard and parsnips flower. Blackberry and elderberry bushes bloom in the hedgerows.

Cobwebs appear overnight, glisten with morning dew. And in the night of Cross Quarter Day, the Lyrid Meteors fly across the southeastern sky near the Summer Triangle, all of them joining in "putting together the great Word" that Wendell Berry heard.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Spring. In the meantime, if you really listen for the "great Word," you will hear it.

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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.