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Poor Will's Almanack: May 18 - 24, 2021

Fyn Kynd
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Fourth Week of Late Spring, the second week of the Cottonwood Cotton Moon, the transition time to the sun in Gemini.

So around May 20th is the time the Sun comes into Gemini, and when the Sun reaches that constellation, then ragweed has grown two feet tall, hemlock, angelica, locusts, blackberries and yarrow are flowering, and the last of the leaves come out for summer.

Under the closing canopy along the 40th Parallel, spring’s garlic mustard, chickweed and catchweed die back, their yellowing foliage accentuating a major decline of April growth.

Daddy longlegs wander the undergrowth now, partial to clustered snakeroot and its pollen. Wild strawberries climb though the purple ground ivy. Wild iris blooms in the wetlands.

By this time of year, tadpoles become toads and frogs and finally move to land. Cricket song grows louder. Ducklings and goslings swim beside their parents. Dragonflies appear along the river. The earliest fireflies come out to mate.

This week of May, the dense shade has moved up all the way from its source along the Gulf of Mexico high into the northern United States.

Fawn are born in the woodlots. Nestlings of robins and sparrows and grackles and so many other birds leave their nests to become fledglings. Elderberry bushes reach full bloom, and black raspberries set their fruit, and a few mulberries are ready to pick.

Osage and black walnut flowers come down in the rain across the East Coast as their leaves continue to expand. In the South, Spanish moss grows its small flowers in the axils of the live oak leaves.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Early Summer. In the meantime, the sun in Gemini is calling out the 17 year cicadas. Keep looking for them.

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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.