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Poor Will's Almanack: September 27 - October 3, 2022

 Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio, USA
James St. John
/
Flickr

Poor Will’s Almanack for the fourth week of Early Fall, the first full week of the Blackbirds in the Cornfields Moon, the second week of the Sun in Libra.

Many years ago, I made friends with an older couple who shared my interest in time and nature.

Once they had me and my wife over for dinner, and the man said to me, "Bill, you are still in the autumn of your life. Just wait until the winter of your life. It is so hard!"

When I asked for details, my host went on about his illnesses until his wife tactfully changed the subject to a praying mantis she had seen at their screen door that summer.

It turned out I never discussed death or the mantis with them further, and we eventually lost touch.

Still, the equinox has passed.

And I think about the winter of life.

Tutored by the wise wife, however, my mind wanders not only to the insects at my door, but to the fifteen Thuja trees that I recently bought from a nursery catalog.

Now actually the evergreen Thujas are bred to be a barrier against the outside world.

I wanted to buy them several decades ago to surround the yard, but I waited until this May to order them. They arrived in the mail, bare root, most of them only six inches tall. Of course, I had procrastinated far too long.

Even though Thujas are supposed to grow very quickly, I will have live well past 100 before they mature.

That should bother me, but it doesn't. Growing recklessly in their pots this winter in my greenhouse, they will form a great barricade, an impenetrable distraction (like a praying mantis) a self-deception and promise to protect me from time and the season.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Middle Fall. In the meantime, find a Thuja or a Thuja substitute. Trick yourself; don't face the winter of life.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.