Cross-Quarter Day is April 21, a day before Earth Day this year, the day on which the sun reaches halfway between equinox and solstice, and enters the late spring sign of Taurus. Now the meager inventories of change that characterized equinox quickly fill with new details each day. The floral and faunal fragments of the season multiply, literally filling in the space of Earth with tangible, visible clockwork.
The first parsnips rise through the wetlands, and all major garden weeds are sprouting. Honeysuckles and spice bushes have developed enough to turn the undergrowth pale green, and color rises through the woods as foliage of rose of Sharon, ginkgo, elm, tree of heaven, black walnut, box elder, sweet gum, ash, locust, and mulberry appears.
In town and along the highways, the redbuds are open. More and more crab apples are flowering, and the great violet and dandelion bloom of 2017 is at its peak. Late spring’s plants are getting ready for May: wild phlox, wild geranium, wild ginger, celandine, spring cress, sedum, golden alexander, thyme-leafed speedwell, garlic mustard, and common fleabane are budding.
Summer is right behind them. White cabbage butterflies and the smaller azures forecast monarchs soon to arrive. Winged termites seek new nesting sites. Bumble bees come out with the sun. June bugs begin their evening flights. Later at night, the Lyrid meteors, ten to fifteen per hour, pass overhead, announcing the approach of May.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of late spring. In the meantime, carpe diem before it all disappears.