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Poor Will's Almanack: October 18 - 24, 2022


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

I went out into the woods and fields the other morning: Small cups of gossamer were shining with dew, hanging to the tips of the dry wingstem. In the mist, the grass was yellowing, and the woods appeared like it does in April, occasional bright leaves like new flowers.

Seeds were sprouting in rotten tree stumps, the sweet smell of autumn ground all around me. The low sun rested in the treetops.

I saw a small flock of robins at the riverbank, and then farther upstream, the trees were full of robins. Fat green Osage fruit lay all over the ground. In one dark patch of ironweed stalks, a few tall bellflowers were blooming.

In one corner of the pasture, wild lettuce plants, leaves shriveled, displayed dozens of prominent white seed heads, each maybe an inch and a half in diameter. When I touched the heads, they dissolved between my fingers.

Blackbirds and starlings passed over the woods heading southwest before lunch. One monarch butterfly came by early in the afternoon, sailed over my head, the sun shining through its wings. A few loud, slow katydids sang that night, maybe their last songs of the year.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Middle Fall. In the meantime, listen to the night before you go to bed. Soon the dark will be silent.

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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.