Poor Will’s Almanack for the First Week of Late Winter.
The weather may or may not shift toward April during this week of the year, but my daybook of events in nature from the past decades tells a clear story of the season's motion.
On January 24 of 1990, I saw a flock of bluebirds, and a flock of robins.
On that day in 1993, I woke up to a thunderstorm - the very first of the year.
On January 25th of 1982, pussy willows were opening in the thaw.
On the morning of the 25th in 2002, the first dove of the year `called at 8:30, and I saw snowdrops budding and aconite plants had sent out leaves.
On the 26th in 1993, the first tips of daffodils came up through the mulch.
On the 26th of 2001, my friend Suzi called to say her first aconite was actually blooming and that a fat dandelion had opened in her yard.
On the 27th in 1988, Pat reported flocks of robins in the trees at her farm. On the 27th in 1989, day lily foliage was up three inches.
On the 28th in 1998, John said his tulips were up an inch above the mulch.
On the 30th in 1986, a ladybug flew by me, landing to sun itself on a honeysuckle branch. And downtown, one purple crocus bud and one yellow crocus bud were visible.
Now all these events are small and they didn't happen all at once, but through the years, they have accumulated in my mind. They are peculiar to this particular time of the year, and, all together, their pieces not only create a history but also a rich if simple precedent for the Late Winter that lies ahead.
Next week on Poor Will’s Almanack: notes for the Second Week of Late Winter. In the meantime, go looking for the smallest change in the landscape. It is, after all, a prophesy.