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Poor Will's Almanack: May 28 – June 3, 2019

ripe strawberry
David Lenker
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the transition week to Early Summer, the  final week of the Golden Buttercup Moon, the second  week of the sun in Gemini

At the doorway to June, strawberries are a single tip of summer.

One ripe strawberry implies all of the flowers of Early Summer: chamomile, clustered snake root, white clover, red clover, yellow sweet clover, yarrow, blue-eyed grass, angelica, prairie false indigo, hemlock, blackberry blossoms, wild roses, swamp iris, meadow goat’s beard, feverfew, blueweed,  black medic, daisies, wild mallow, fire pink, water willow, motherwort, white campion, parsnips, honewort, moth mullein, heliopsis, quickweed, lychnis, astilbe, swamp valerian, moneywort, scarlet pimpernel, catalpas, meadow rue, dogbane, sundrops, privet, spirea, poison ivy,  tea roses, Miami mist, spiderwort, snow-on-the-mountain, daylilies, stella d’oro lilies, bindweed, thistles, sweet Williams, and crown vetch.

Strawberries are a sign that mulberries and pie cherries are getting ripe, black raspberries not too far behind them, a sign that quail are whistling for their mates, that box turtles are laying their eggs, that spiders are weaving their webs across Glen paths, that the spring field crickets are mating, that fireflies are glowing, that skippers visit the garden, that maple seeds fall, that May apples are an inch across, that cattails and yucca stalks are four feet tall, that timothy is ripe for chewing.

The catalogue of objects and events could go on and on. And not only is each term in the list convertible from part to whole, from microcosm to macrocosm, the psychic possibilities for reminiscence and fantasy contained in each evocative fragment outstrip any kind of organization or reason. Overcome with the chaotic convergence of spirit and matter, we reel under Strawberry Summer, feel lost, elated, nostalgic, confused, sad, excited, lonely, in love, full of regret, longing, anticipation.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first full week of Early Summer.  In the meantime, find a strawberry, and 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.