The effects of the steady retreat of the night and the increasing temperatures of middle spring are always cumulative. By the year’s one- hundredth day (that’s just two days from now), the resurrection of the landscape has a reached a point of no return.
All across the nation’s midsection, the blooming of silver maples and red maples merges with the blooming of the sugar maples and box elders. Honeysuckles are greening the roadsides, breaking the gray and dun of the winter undergrowth.
In towns all along the 40th Parallel, peony stalks are turning from February red to April green. Daffodils, tulips, and grape hyacinths fill the dooryards.
In the wetlands, skunk cabbage has grown to more than half its summer size.. Bright yellow cowslip is opening, and watercress has filled the shallow brooks.
At the forest edge, knotweed and nettles are tall enough to cut for supper. May apples spread their shade across last year’s mulch. Deep in the woods, the momentum of time and weather opens the soft ginger and raises delicate morels from their mulch.
Insects become more numerous now, encouraging the arrival of catbirds, indigo buntings, scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, kingbirds, and more than a dozen varieties of warblers. Honeybees indulge in the seasons of flowering pear, apple and cherry trees. Young hummingbird moths come out to sip the annual mass flowering of dandelions.
In the rivers and reservoirs, the fishes are feeding and courting. Water striders mate, and toads chant. Above them all, the tall tree canopy is flushed and poised to break out into May.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of middle spring. In the meantime, Thursday is the 100th day of the year. Celebrate a little bit.