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Poor Will's Almanack: July 1 - 7, 2014

Bob Muller
Flickr Creative Commons

Look at this beautiful world, and read the truth In her fair page;
wrote the 19th century poet, William Cullen Bryant,
See every season brings
New change to her of everlasting youth—
he writes,
Still the green soil, with joyous living things
Swarms -- the wide air is full of joyous wings.

Now in the second week of middle summer, the days still seem to last forever, the Cicada Moon is waxing, and the cicadas fill the warm mornings and afternoons with their high buzzing whine, the number of flowers in bloom reaches its peak, and the world is full of beauty in its fair page.

Even though aphelion – the Earth’s position farthest from the sun, - occurs on July 4th, Sirius, the Dog Star, the star of the Dog Days of July, moves to the center of the sky, announcing – if not actually causing – the most intense heat of the year.

And late at night, middle summer brings the stars of Hercules almost overhead, bearing the first ripening tomatoes, fresh sweet corn and green beans, and zucchini. In the east, Cygnus (the Northern Cross), Lyra with bright Vega, and Aquila with its anchor star, Altair, are rising in with the Milky Way, foretelling the blackberries and peaches and plums of August.

Now the crickets and the katydids, whose night songs soon replace the early morning songbird chorus ,are emerging in the shade. Fledgling robins and sparrows and grackles and blue jays pester their parents to harvest the berries of June. Young herons leave their rookeries, the very first rough-winged swallow flies south, and the wide air is full of joyous wings.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of middle summer. In the meantime, join with the “joyous living things.”

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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.