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Poor Will's Almanack: May 17 - 23, 2016

Marcia Cirillo
Flickr Creative Commons

The Mulberry Moon waxes through its second quarter this week, becoming completely full on the 22nd of May, lying overhead and gibbous throughout the night.

Sweetening both white and red mulberries, the moon makes locust and buckeye flowers open and then fall as the high canopy slowly closes in.

Cedar waxwings migrate north as the flowers collapse. In warm and humid evenings, giant June bugs come to your porch light, and the first firefly glows in the grass.

All along the 40th Parallel, sycamore and ginkgo leaves are half size, and the rest of the maples fill in. Black walnuts, silver olives, and oaks become major sources of pollen. The tall grasses along the rivers are knee high, sheltering as they bloom newborn crickets and moths and daddy longlegs.

Peonies and tea roses, pink spirea and achillea and lamb’s ear pace the mulberries in the garden. Along the highways, birdsfoot trefoil, wild grapes and cow vetch, yellow sweet clover, blue-eyed grass, wild parsnips and poison hemlock bloom.

Iris and river willows blossom in the swamps, and lizard’s tail has three-leaves in the sloughs. Tall meadow rue is knee high, keeping shadowing the fat angelica. In the parks, Kousa dogwoods, panicled dogwood, fringe trees and catalpas are flowering.

And all these scriptures of nature, “says author Ken Carey, “can be read in their original versions, untranslated … unedited, unabridged.”

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, read the scriptures of nature…in the original.

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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.