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Poor Will's Almanack: April 7 - 13, 2015

A. Birkan ÇAĞHAN
Flickr Creative Commons

In a cold spring, when the daytime offers few markers for the new season, the stars of midnight continue to tell the time of year. At the hinge between morning and night, winter’s Orion, followed by Sirius, the Dog Star, are setting in the west, taking away the cruelest time of winter. Behind them, Gemini and Cancer promise the blossoms of fruit trees.

Following Cancer, in the center of the southern sky, the brightest light is Regulus in the constellation Leo, linked all along and south of the 40th Parallel with daffodils. Above Leo, the Big Dipper protrudes deep above Polaris, its pointers positioned almost exactly north-south and dividing the six months of growth from the six months of seeding.

In the east, Arcturus rising is the harbingers of hyacinths. Closer to the horizon the Corona Borealis is the star crown for tulips. Up from the northeast, Vega and Deneb emerge to watch over the flowering of crab apples and dogwoods and redbuds and pears and cherries, and then on to the summer bloom of lilies and phlox, the mating of fireflies, the cries of cicadas and crickets, and the autumnal cutting of corn and soybeans.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back next week with notes for the third week of middle spring, the final week of the Cabbage Butterfly Moon and the fourth week of the sun in Aries. In the meantime, check the stars in the middle of the night. They prophesy the whole year to come.

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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.