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Poor Will's Almanack: March 3 - 9, 2020

Christian Collins
Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the third week of early spring, but when it really comes to spring, the number of the week or even the weather doesn’t move you closer to spring so much as what you see and hear. It’s your experience that leads you out of winter.

The land sends up signs of color to guide you, first emerald green of fresh grass to catch the sun, then white of snowdrops and tiny-flowered bittercress and Lenten roses, the yellow of dandelions, the violet and gold of snow crocuses, sometimes deep purple of the larger crocuses and March irises.

Now, red-winged blackbirds are already whistling in the wetlands, and the robin chorus begins before dawn, joining the calls of cardinals, song sparrows and doves. Through the daytime, house sparrows and chickadees and wrens chatter in their breeding dialogues.

Like color to the landscape,  birdsong tells the time of year, its signs breaking the listener away from the silence of winter.

Giving in to such topography of sight and sound, with or without taxonomy or identifying names of this plant or that bird, one can follow virgin paths with the guides of March as if for the first time, rediscovering that everything is new.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Early Spring. In the meantime, the guides are coming, let yourself be led into the new season.

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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.