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Poor Will's Almanack: December 13 - 19, 2022

Amaranthus cruentus
Rajgira (Marathi: राजगिरा)

Poor Will’s Almanack for the second week of Early Winter, the final week of the Goose Gathering Moon, the fourth week of the Sun in Sagittarius.

As solstice approaches, the feathery heads of virgin’s bower, soft and thick in late November, have blown away in the wind. Worn tufts of ironweed have almost disappeared.

Osage fruits lie all yellow on the ground. The shedding of the undergrowth reveals the lichens on the outcroppings of limestone bringing pale greens and pastels to the gray hillsides. The trees are black, the pasture chartreuse. On the sidewalks, walnut hulls, shredded by squirrels, stain the concrete purple.

Along the highways, staghorns still hold, blood red. The stems of great mullein and teasel stand dark and tall. Amaranth is bowing to set its seeds. Shriveled pokeberries dangle on their wrinkled stems. Pale foxtail grasses bob and sway, cling to one another like lost caterpillars. In the gardens, snapdragons finally succumb to the cold, their foliage gray from frost. The crisp zinnias, once the color of summer, are dull and bent.

And the pure springs that wander through the swamps and bottomlands are adorned with cress, dock, ragwort, buttercup and the brightest grass: oases of color and sound, never overcome by winter, never browned or dulled, almost never silenced.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of Early Winter. In the meantime, it may seem like everything is cold and drab, but if you look closely, you can see the world is still alive and waiting.

Poor Will's Almanack for 2023 as well as my new book of essays, The Virgin Point: Meditations in Nature, are now, available on Amazon or from www.poorwillsalmanack.com.

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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.