Almanac April 2023
April is a quivering brood, a bellyful of earthworms, a fledgling’s maiden flight.
The sun is out. A banquet of wild violets glistens in the wake of a spring rain. The birdbath runneth over.
In the garden, a pair of robins scurry from worm to worm, flit from soft earth to wriggling nest, from wriggling nest to soft earth. There are mouths to feed. Four beaks, bright as buttercups, open and urging for more, more, more.
Born pink and blind, the robin hatchlings know nothing of rat snakes or corvids; nothing of cold winds or the bloodthirsty cat by the birdbath. By some miracle, the chicks emerged from pale blue eggs into a world that is soft, safe and kindly. By some miracle, they know only the warmth of their mother, the warmth of the nest, the warmth inside their plump, translucent bellies.
Days from now, everything will change. First, tiny quills will appear on the nestlings’ feeble bodies. Next, their eyes will crack open, the sudden light revealing a world of color and danger and new horizons.
In two weeks, when the dandelions have multiplied and the earliest strawberries blossom, the speckled fledglings will jump the nest.
What happens next?
For the young robins: peril or miracle.
For the robin pair: another nest, another clutch, another thousand trips from quivering brood to soft earth.
The Blushing Maiden
The Full Pink Moon rises on Thursday, April 6. Native Americans named this moon for the creeping phlox now blushing across the tender earth. This year, the Pink Moon also happens to be the Paschal Moon — the first full moon of spring.
Also called moss phlox, the fragrant blossoms of this herbaceous perennial make it a butterfly magnet.
But it’s not the only pink flower in bloom. Tulips come in 50 shades of it.
There’s the pink-flowering dogwood, the eastern redbud (pardon the misleading name) and the showstopping cherry.
Don’t forget the pink azaleas, coming soon.
Easter (aka, the moveable feast) always falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal full moon. This year, Easter is celebrated on Sunday, April 9. If you’re planning to hide eggs, careful where you stash the pink ones.
Today has been a day dropped out of June into April. — L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars
According to Smithsonian magazine, the Lyrid meteor shower is one of the 10 most “dazzling” events for stargazers in 2023. This year’s shower peaks on Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day).
“Observers are usually able to see about 18 meteors per hour in a clear, dark sky,” the article states, “though on rare occasions, the Lyrids can surprise viewers with as many as 100 meteors in an hour.”
At 6 percent illumination, the waxing crescent moon should make for favorable viewing conditions.
As for a clear sky? We’ll see. Or, we won’t. PS