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Poor Will's Almanack: April 27 – May 3, 2021

Dan Keck
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the First Week of Late Spring, the third week of the Cows Switching their Tails Moon, the second week of the sun in Taurus.

I have spent much of my spare time in the past decades keeping track of what happens in nature in my back yard and the land around me.

I haven’t observed too many unusual events or things, just got to know some of the usual things, like robins and mosquitoes, certain trees and plants and insects.

Last year, though, I thought I saw fewer butterflies than usual, and for the past three years, I haven’t seen any spiders weaving webs around my workshed. They had always been there before.

Scientific research is pointing to the likelihood of mass extinctions in the coming decade, but I always hoped those extinctions that may be accompanying climate change wouldn’t happen in my world. Seems like they may happen here anyway.

So this year, I’m going to pay attention more, not so much to what is happening as to what is not happening. That could be a little challenging. So how to do it?

Just watching is a start. And wondering: What did I see or hear today? What didn’t I hear or see? It means trying to remember: What was it like last April? Sometimes the past seems useless, but it is the key to recognizing the present and maybe the future.

It will be hard to recognize the effects of climate change unless I can remember the way things used to be – or how they are now.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Late Spring. In the meantime, watch, listen, smell: What’s happening now? think about what isn’t happening that used to happen.

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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.