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Poor Will's Almanack: March 24 - 30, 2015

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Andrew Fogg
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Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the very edge of middle spring, in the second week of the Cabbage White Butterfly Moon, the first full week of the sun in Aries, the seventeenth week of the new year in nature.

Standing along the 40th Parallel, one might read the spring and gauge its events throughout the country. In the brooks and springs of Kentucky wetlands, soft sprouts of touch-me-nots have emerged; along ponds and rivers, the branches of weeping willow trees turn pale yellow-green as their buds expand. In the city, cornus mas shrubs produce golden blossoms, promising forsythia in the first full week of middle spring; many male goldfinches are completely gold.

All those signs are signs of movements elsewhere. In central Minnesota, robins finally arrive; between the Ohio Valley and Wisconsin, red-winged blackbirds are nesting along the fencerows; sugaring spreads through Vermont; on the Platte River in Nebraska, sandhill cranes have assembled and are waiting to depart for Canada; in the Southwest, wildflower season is reaching its zenith.

Hidden in the Appalachian woods, the foliage of the healing onions called ramps is usually three to four inches tall. In South Carolina, bright yellow jessamine is open along the roadsides; in Huntsville, Alabama, it's time for redbud trees and decorative pears to bloom. Leaves are fully developed on the box elder trees in Laurel, Mississippi. Dogwood flowers are common below Hattiesburg. Deep in Louisiana, the undergrowth is completely green, and the high oaks are filling in.

Throughout New Orleans, day lilies and wisteria blossom; on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia, azaleas and pale Cherokee Roses flower; rice fields flower red and purple beside the Gulf of Mexico.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back next week with notes for the first week of middle spring, the third week of the Cabbage White Butterfly Moon and the second week of the sun in Aries. In the meantime, read just a few lines of spring: they lead throughout the world.

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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.