Poor Will’s Almanack for the second week of Middle Summer
Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,
With hues on hues expression cannot paint,
The breath of Nature and her endless bloom…
wrote the 18th century poet, James Thomson, describing the summer.
And all across America now, the endless bloom comes true: Purple loosestrife, lizard's tail, Queen Anne's lace, purple coneflower, wild petunia, bouncing bet, dayflower, sow thistle, white vervain, dogbane, black-eyed Susan, leatherflower, figwort, lesser stitchwort, germander, pokeweed, St. John's wort, teasel, wild lettuce, wood mint, wood nettle, leafcup, touch-me-not, lopseed and avens are all blossoming in the woods and fields.
Throughout the Midwest, the first peaches and summer apples have started coming in. July's wild cherries are ripening, and elderberries are setting fruit. Along the West Coast, Blackberries and salmon berries are setting fruit.
May's goslings and ducklings are almost grown in Michigan. Tiny waterstriders hatch in Kentucky ponds just as alewives head back to the Atlantic from their estuaries along the East Coast. Young robins, grackles and blue jays are in the honeysuckle bushes eating red and orange berries.
Summer reaches critical mass: so much color, so much new life, so much perfection that the weight of one more insect or the exotic scent of one more milkweed, or the ecstasy of one more butterfly suddenly pierces the spinning ascension of time, and the season topples over of its own weight, the last infinitesimal addition pulling the vast earth over into full Middle Summer, tilting it top heavy toward equinox.
Next week on Poor Will's Miami Valley Almanack: notes for the third week of middle summer. In the meantime, listen for cicadas to sing, riding the year's high tide