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Poor Will's Almanack: May 14 - 20, 2019

dragonfly
Chris Luczkow
/
Flickr Creative Commons

The Sun enters the Early Summer sign of Gemini on May 20, and when the Sun reaches so high, then blackberries are flowering all along the nation’s midsection, and the last of the high-tree leaves come out for summer.

Purple ground ivy weaves into the sticky catchweed. Swamp iris blooms in the wetlands. Deep Summer's wood nettle, wild lettuce, wingstem and dogbane have grown knee high. Field grasses are waist high. Poison hemlock reaches chin high, angelica up over your head. The smell of cut hay follows the cottonwood cotton in the wind. Mulberries, strawberries, cherries and wild black raspberries ripen.

Bright yellow birdsfoot trefoil and purple vetch and pink crown vetch line the freeways.

When the Sun lies in benign Gemini, tadpoles become toads and frogs, leave the shallows and move to land. Firefly larvae glow in the yard, safe beneath the blossoming of the early clovers. The cries of new field crickets grow louder. Mosquitoes become more pesky. Dragon flies hover near creeks and ponds. Young squirrels explore the woods, and almost every gosling and ducking has hatched.

In the salt marshes of the South, fiddler crabs emerge from their tunnels in the creeks and estuaries. Throughout town and countryside, sparrows chant and chatter without pause from before sunrise until past sunset, their screaming fledglings insatiable.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the transition week to Early Summer and the third week of the Golden Buttercup Moon. In the meantime, watch to see the world turning into Early Summer.

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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.