Nature
8:35 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: January 22 - 28, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user SlideshowBruce

Poor Will’s Almanack for the First Week of Late Winter.

Now the year is three weeks old, and Late Winter has begun. It often seems by this time of year that the cold will never end, and that the nights will never be short enough. But On January 27: The day's length (now growing at the rate of two minutes each 24 hours) reaches ten hours all along the 40th Parallel.

The dark morning sky already prophesies the summer: An hour before sunrise, Orion has set. Sirius has moved deep into the west, Cancer and Gemini following it. The Big Dipper is overhead. June‘s Arcturus is coming in from the east, and August’s Vega has risen in the northeast

Last week, the titmice were calling. This week, the owls are courting and the great flocks of crows are breaking up, and the cardinals will start to sing half an hour before dawn.

In two weeks, doves will call; in three weeks the skunk cabbage will be open; in four weeks the sap will run in the maples and snowdrops and aconites will bloom; in five weeks the crocus will bloom and the pussy willows will almost all be out; in seven weeks the daffodils will flower and gold finches will turn gold; in eight weeks, bright forsythia will bloom and then the wildflowers of middle spring will come in all at once.

It seems that spring will never come. But really, there is hardly time to get ready.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the Second Week of Late Winter. In the meantime, don’t wait too long – spring is almost here.

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