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Poor Will's Almanack: November 14 - 20, 2023

Moon over Cleveland

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack in the time of late fall in the time of the Gourd Moon and late in the time of the sun in Scorpio.

The final rites of Late Fall include a chronology of the last leaves and fruits.

Sometimes beeches, oaks or Osge trees and are the last to lose their leaves.

Sometimes, mock orange or lilacs outlast all the other shrubs. Sometimes forsythias or hardy honeysuckles are the last to go..

Winterberry fruits are losing their white outer shells, their red cores unveiled by the cold.

Orange bittersweet berries fall to the woodland floor.

New England aster and sedum foliage turned a dusky yellow in early November; now the plants are shedding.

Garlic and garden lettuce and autumn rhubarb have stopped growing.

Most all the seeds are gone from milkweed pods; just a few wisps of down cling to their shells. Fragile pokeweed stems have exploded in the frost.

The last roses have often been frozen by nights in the teens.

And.....as the earth loses all of summer, I try to find as many remnants as I can. In her novel, The Samurai’s Garden, Gail Tsukiyama describes how it is: “Maybe it’s the light that gradually grows darker," she says, "making everything seem less trivial, forcing you to look harder to find your way.”

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with more notes on the seasons. In the meantime, look harder to find your way through the cold ahead.

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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.