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Poor Will's Almanack: May 19 - 25, 2015

Scott Branson
Flickr Creative Commons

As May grows and moves toward June, the leaves darken and mature and age. The latticework of April flora disappears.

The eclipse of the land beneath the closing canopy erases the dapples of late spring. Under the full crown of the woods, only shade plants blossom: the leafcup, the enchanter’s nightshade, the tall bellflower, the wood nettle, the clustered snakeroot.

Early summer will produce an abundance of brilliant color in gardens and fields. New flowers will appear every day, hiding the debris of old flowers, covering decay with a deceiving momentum and arrogance, promising that there can never be a final cycle of blossoms.

Strawberries ripen, and then the raspberries and then the cherries and the apples and the blackberries and peaches, plums and grapes - in a great ritual of compensation for spring lost. The darker, more mellow world is rich and filling, balancing loss of light with sweetness.

And as this new summer is easily recognized and measured in specific leaves and flowers and fruits, it also seems to be and become more than the sum of its parts, as if it were not only a convergence of separate events and sensations and objects but a spirit that gives itself with joy in this place to us and to all matter.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of early summer. In the meantime, whatever you see in flower around you is a sign of where and when you are.

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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.