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Poor Will's Almanack: April 16 - 22, 2019

honeybee on flower
Flickr Creative Commons

A season is always the sum of its parts. The pieces of Early Spring are few and subtle, but Middle Spring, reaching its zenith this week, leaves little to the imagination. The meager inventories of change that characterized equinox quickly fill with new details. Trees leaf and flowers bloom, unmistakable, their numbers catching the eye of almost everyone.

All the habitats, from rich talus slopes to alleyways, reveal the prints of change. The first leaf is out on the lizard's tail. The first wild phlox has bloomed, the first ragwort, the first wild geranium, the first trillium grandiflorum. Honeybees find the peach and crab apple flowers. White abbage butterflies are spiraling, mating. Pussy willows and forsythia are leafing. Strawberry plants have buds, quince is budding, winter cress is budding.  The days finally grow warm.

May apples are a foot tall and buckeye buds have unraveled. Skunk cabbage leaves are more than half size in the swamps. Ragwort and garlic mustard are forming clumps, seed heads visible, still tightly bunched. Watercress has filled the shallow brooks. Peony stems are a foot and a half tall, leaves developing and spreading out, turning from red to green.

The earth seems to spin faster now, time ceding to the eye of the spectator. The days suddenly stretch out to their summer length. The floral and faunal fragments multiply, rising up from the grave of winter and literally filling in the space of Earth with tangible, visible clockwork, the months of waiting through winter and Early Spring repaid beyond counting.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Middle Spring  and the third week of the Cows Switching their Tails Moon. In the meantime, go outside and look. The world is covered with the fragments of Middle Spring.

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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.