Nature
8:38 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Poor Will's Almanack: July 5 - 11, 2011

Poor Will’s Almanack for the third week of Middle Summer by Bill Felker July 5 - 11, 2011

Don't move. Stay still... writes American poet, Gary Snyder. Take a look at one place on earth, one circle of people, one realm of beings over time.

This one place on earth this week is high Middle Summer, when cicadas sing at noon and sweet corn is tasseling, when buckeyes and hickory nuts are almost full size and goldenrod is four feet tall, and lupines break apart and spread their seeds.

White snakeroot, ironweed, boneset, wingstem, tall coneflowers and gray-headed coneflowers are budding as the pink giant-flowered mallow comes to the end of its season. Midyear hostas, liatris and obedient plant open. Blueweed flowers are at the top of their spikes, just as the first burdock blooms.

Maroon seedpods form on the locusts. Green wild cherries hang in clusters. Avens and thimble plants are making seed heads under the canopy, and all the early honeysuckles have their berries. Blackberries are August-size this week, purple in the South, blushing in the North. Elderberry bushes and everbearing strawberries are setting fruit throughout America.

The wheat is dark and at least half cut this third week of middle summer all along the 40th Parallel. The oats crop ripens. Tomatoes redden. Milkweed pods emerge; New generations of crickets are born. New cabbage butterflies cluster on the lavender and purple loosestrife. Wood nettle and touch-me-nots dominate the darker woods. Robin calls are quiet clucking sounds, guiding their fledglings to food and safety.

Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the fourth week of middle summer. In the meantime, don't move, as Gary Snyder says. Stay still, watch and listen.

Related program: