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Poor Will's Almanack: February 16 – 22, 2021

On the 18th day of the year’s second month, the sun reaches the halfway point to equinox, entering Pisces at the same time, and initiates the season of Early Spring, a six-week period of changeable conditions, infiltrated ever so slowly by warmer and warmer temperatures that finally bring the first trees and the early bulbs to bloom.

By this time of the year all along the 40th Parallel moss is growing a little more on old logs, and the first rhubarb leaves are unfolding in the garden. Skunk cabbage is blossoming in the swamps, aconites and crocuses and snowdrops in a yard or two.

Depending on the year, foliage expands on poppies, pansies, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and strawberries. All those hardy leaves are expanding a centimeter here or there, such measurements seeming unimportant until they can measure spring, and then there is no insignificant degree.

The signs accelerate, accumulate, and become a new season, turning into what they represent by force of numbers.

Then, what at first looks the same as any winter day is really a day in Early Spring. The wind is still raw, and the grass and the trees are brown, but the balance has tipped. The thaws are preserved, their effects impervious to the steady progression of cold fronts, and suddenly winter collapses into giving birth.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Early Spring. In the meantime, go out every day; collect the signs of the new season until you have them all.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

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.