Everything is telling time, revealing the arrival of middle autumn.
The Pleiades, and the Hyades of Taurus, outrides of winter’s Orion, lie on the eastern horizon after dark, promising December.
Here on Earth, goldenrod is seeding, pods of the eastern burning bush are open, wild grapes are purple. Streaks of scarlet appear on the oaks, shades of pink on the dogwoods. The surviving ashes show red or gold; the catalpas and the cottonwoods blanch. Shagbark hickories, tulip trees, sassafras, elms, locusts and sweet gums change to full yellow, merge with the swelling orange of the maples.
Gardeners guard their late peppers and tomatoes from the specter of frost. They bring in pumpkins and winter squash before the weather gets much colder. Looking toward spring, they set flower bulbs for crocus and daffodils and tulips that will form a calendar of March and April and May. They transplant perennials as the moon grows darker, dividing hostas and lilies for June and July and August. Farmers harvest corn and soybeans. They breed their sheep and goats that will give birth in early spring.
On fences and high wires, hawks look for prey in the great flocks of birds that move south now: warblers and grosbeaks and field sparrows.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the second week of middle fall. In the meantime, watch for migrating flocks and the hawks watching them as you drive to work or play.