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

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Vicki DeLoach
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Flickr Creative Commons

There’s night and day, brother, both sweet things, writes George Borrow in a passage from his novel, Lavengro. There’s sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things…. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die? 

In my notes for this week of the year, I find myself in the middle of butterflies, days of color and nectar, drifting and soaring.  These days, I can see were the sweetest.

I remember one year four yellow and black tiger swallowtails all together a on deep purple butterfly bush.and then a zebra swallowtail, white and black, jointed them, Then landing on my sleeve a red admiral butterfly - black wings with  red-orange bands, white polka dots, and, and it rested and its wing opened and closed like breathing, and  I felt rich and honored.

Cabbage white butterflies were always playing in the flowers. So many mornings, tiny golden foldwing skippers raced erratically back and forth near the back trees. Sometimes even monarchs graced the dahlias.

It was the time that wild black raspberries were the sweetest, when I counted dozens of orange and violet and mauve and red lilies open each morning.

But especially, it was a time of seeing butterflies every day, days I sat for hours with my wife then as she rested after chemotherapy, and we basked in their colors and their free motion, their dances, their sweet liberty.

At dusk, we listened to robin singsong vespers. After sundown, fireflies were still flying in the dark, even though the summer was on the wane The field crickts chirped in the dark, and katydids rasped and sawed before midnight.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of Deep Summer  In the meantime, just watch and listen.

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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.