Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Firefly time

William Felker

caption arrowCaption
William Felker

Changes in the weather transform the very feel of the world’s presence, altering the medium of awareness in a manner that affects every breathing being in our vicinity…. Although it rarely occupies our full attention, the weather is always evident on the periphery of that attention, an ever-present reminder that the reality we inhabit is ultimately beyond our human control. — David Abram

The Almanack Horoscope

Moon Time: The Strawberry and Raspberry Moon entered its second quarter on June 1 and waxes to apogee (its position farthest from Earth) on June 8. Rising near midday, setting early in the morning, the second quarter moon is overhead in the evening.

RELATED: Springfield weather

Sun Time: By the end of the first week of June, the sun has reached a declination of 22 degrees 44 minutes. How close to solstice is that? Well, solstice declination is 23 degrees 26 minutes.

Planet Time: Moving retrograde into Aries, Venus keeps its dominant morning place in the eastern sky, reaching its greatest brilliance of the year on June 3.

ERIC ELWELL: Red sky at night, a sky watcher’s delight

Star Time: Now Lira lies in the center of the southern horizon after dark, announcing the full bloom of early day lilies. It the west, Leo follows Cancer into the sunset. Capella hugs the northern horizon below Camelopardalis and the Lynx. Arcturus and Bootes and the Corona Borealis are overhead, and the Milky Way sweeps up from the east, carrying with it all the stars of August.

Weather Time

The June 2 Front: This front can bring a light freeze along the Canadian border and at higher elevations of the mountains, but the rest of the country is typically safe by this time in the year.

The June 6 Front: The low-pressure system that accompanies the June 6 front initiates a four-day period during which there is an increased chance for tornadoes and flash floods. Even after this front passes to the east, storms strike four years in ten. Part of the reason for the rise in the risk for severe weather is the increase in the percentage of afternoons in the 80s and 90s almost everywhere in the continental United States.

Zeitgebers: Events in Nature that Tell the Time of Year: Not long after peonies come in and the exotic flowers of the yellow poplar open, just past the prime of poppies, the last leaves of the canopy cover the land. When the high foliage is complete, then the wild multiflora roses and the domestic tea roses bloom, the last Osage and black walnut flowers fall, clustered snakeroot hangs with pollen in the shade, and parsnips, goat's beard and sweet clovers take over the roadsides. Rare swamp valerian blossoms by the water, and common timothy pushes up from its sheaths in all the alleyways.

Delicate Miami mist, pink yarrow, yellow moneywort, silver lamb’s ear and the rough Canadian thistle bloom. Wild onions and domestic garlic get their seed bulbs. Poison ivy and tiger lilies and catalpas are budding. Daisies, golden Alexander, groundsel, sweet rocket and common fleabane still hold in the pastures, but garlic mustard and ragwort are almost gone. The bright violet heads of chives droop and decay. Tall buttercups recede into the wetlands. Petals of mock orange, honeysuckle, scarlet pyrethrum, blue lupine and Dutch iris fall to the garden floor.

The columbines come apart as astilbe reddens.

Field and Garden Time: When goslings leave the nest, mulberry season peaks, and when you see the first monarch butterfly, watch for young coyotes to come after your chickens and new lambs and kids.

And when May apples have fruit the size of a cherry and honeysuckle flowers have all come down, look for cucumber beetles to reach the economic threshold on the farm and in the garden.

When fireflies fly at night, chinch bugs hatch in the lawn, and powdery mildew becomes a problem in the garden phlox.

When yucca plants send up their stalks, young grackles leave their nests, and nettles have grown up to your chest. Then, Japanese beetles start to attack roses and ferns. Azalea bark scale eggs hatch, too!

Marketing Time: Halal sales of lamb and chevon begin any day now at the approach the feast of Id-al-Fitir, the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

WEATHER: WHIO Interactive Radar

Mind and Body Time: The Nature Horoscope brings ups and downs this week. As winter moves further into the past, your immune system should be making gains, and the number of beneficial T-cells (which help to fight viruses and tumors) may increase. Once summer heat builds up, however, the immune system often reverts to near winter levels.

If you depend on creativity for your livelihood or your happiness, you may soon start to experience a summer slump; shift to routine and mechanical activities during periods of mental stagnation — the creativity will return — especially at full moon or, at the latest, in the fall.

Creature Time (for fishing, hunting, feeding, bird watching): The moon will be overhead around dusk this week. Have dinner and then go fishing, especially as the barometer is dropping before the arrival of the June 6 and 10 cold fronts. Dieting, of course, may be harder at supper time, if you are susceptible to lunar influence. As you walk the shoreline or take an evening walk, listen for robin vespers, loud chirps and warbles. And be up before dawn to hear the birds singing in your neighborhood.


I walk the alley near my house, nostalgic for spring. I miss the flock of winter starlings in the black walnut tree. The lilacs, the magnolias and bridal wreath spirea near Judy’s house are gone. Mateo’s weigela is down to about a third of its petals. The beds of aconites and bluebells have disappeared. The Dutch iris and the violet standard iris are almost gone, the mock orange is losing all its petals, the Osage flowers fall, and the sweet rockets decay quickly.

The alley was a private passageway, common to all, but belonging to me, at those few minutes every morning when I walked through it. Did I confuse privacy with constancy? Is it something else, maybe the wish that nothing would ever change, that produces a mild melancholy that I confuse with the end of spring and other closures, the vague emotions mixing and blending?

About the Author