A DAYBOOK FOR MARCH IN YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO
BY BILL FELKER
A MEMOIR IN NATURE AND HANDBOOK FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE, BEING A PERSONAL NARRATIVE AND SYNTHESIS OF COMMON EVENTS IN NATURE BETWEEN 1981 AND 2017 IN SOUTHWESTERN OHIO, WITH A VARIETY OF NATURAL CALENDARS, REFLECTIONS BY THE AUTHOR AND SEASONAL QUOTATIONS FROM ANCIENT AND MODERN WRITERS
VOLUME 3 OF A 12-VOLUME SET: A DAYBOOK FOR THE YEAR IN YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO
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The format of all my notes in this daybook owes more than a little to the almanacs I wrote and continue to write for the Yellow Springs News between 1984 and 2017.
The quotations, daily statistics, the weather outlooks, the seasonal calendar and the daybook journal were and still are part of my regular routine of collecting and organizing impressions about the place in which I live.
The principal habitat described here is that of Glen Helen, a preserve of woods and glades that forms the eastern border of the village of Yellow Springs in southwestern Ohio.
The passages from ancient and modern writers (and sometimes from my alter egos) which accompany each day’s notations are lessons from my readings, as well as from distant seminary and university training, here put to work in service of the reconstruction of my sense of time and space. They are a collection of reminders, hopes, and promises for me that I find implicit in the seasons. They have also become a kind of a cosmological scrapbook for me, as well as the philosophical underpinning of this narrative.
I have included the sunrise and sunset for Yellow Springs as a general guide to the progression of the year in this location, but those statistics also reflect trends that are world wide.
Average temperatures in Yellow Springs are also part of each day’s entry. Since the rise and fall of temperatures in other parts of the North America keep pace with the temperatures in Yellow Springs, the daybook’s highs and lows, like solar statistics, are helpful indicators of the steady progress of the year everywhere.
My daily, weekly and monthly weather summaries have been distilled from over thirty years of observations, and they offer a statistical description of each day. Although information about the Yellow Springs microclimate at first seemed too narrow to be of use to those who lived outside my area, I began to adjust my data to meet the needs of a number of regional and national farm publications for which I started writing in the mid 1980s. Soon I was finding that what had happened in Yellow Springs was applicable to many other parts of the country, and farmers in Michigan told me they could plan the cutting of their hay better with my guidelines than with satellite predictions.
The Natural Calendar seasonal summaries includesapproximate dates for astronomical events such as star movement, meteor showers, solstice, equinox, perihelion (the sun’s position closest to earth) and aphelion (the sun’s position farthest from earth). In this section I note the progress of foliage and floral changes, farm and garden practices, migration times for common birds and peak periods of insect activity.
At the beginning of each spring and summer month, I have included a wildflower calendar that lists blooming dates for hundreds of wildflowers in an average Yellow Springs season. Although the flora of the eastern and central United States is hardly limited to the species mentioned here, the flowers listed are common enough to provide easily recognized landmarks for gauging the advance of the year in most areas east of the Mississippi.
The daybook journal consists of my notes on what I saw happening around me in Yellow Springs between 1979 and 2017. It is a collection of observations made from the window of my car and from my walks in Glen Helen, in other parks and wildlife areas within a few miles of my home, and on occasional trips.
The cumulative format of the daybook, which brings together all of the annual entries for the same day through the span of over thirty years, has shown me the regularity of the changes in the seasons, and it fleshes out a broad, multi-faceted picture of each segment of the year. At the same time, this format can provide an informal base line for monitoring future changes in local climate.
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