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Poor Will's Almanack: October 11 -17, 2022

James St. John
Wikimedia Commons

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

Two weeks ago, much of the landscape was still a deep, late-summer green.

Now, ashes are gold and burgundy, a few maples and dogwoods are orange, or red. Cottonwoods and catalpas and sweet gums and shagbark hickories are yellow. Grape vines and nettles are bleached with age. Locust leaves drizzle steadily to the undergrowth. The serviceberries are almost bare. The black walnut trees keep only their last fruit, and purple poison ivy and Virginia creeper outline the changes.

In Midwestern gardens, the virgin’s bower is done flowering. White boneset and New England asters are in decline. A few Rose of Sharon and Japanese honeysuckle blossoms hold on. Craneflies swarm, a fraction of their winter size. Dragonflies still hunt in the ponds.

In the woods yesterday afternoon, kingfishers were screaming up and down the river throughout my walk. Late goldenrod was still in bloom, along with white snakeroot and the small white asters and the violet heart-leafed asters. The zigzag goldenrod, orange jewelweed and the blue-stemmed goldenrod still blossomed at the far side of their season. Driving south near dusk, I noticed the milkweed pods were open, their silk shining in the last light.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of Middle Fall. In the meantime, check the roadsides as you drive. Maybe you'll see the milkweed opening.

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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.