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Poor Will's Almanack: October 30 - November 5, 2012

Flickr Creative Commons user Steve Corey

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will's Almanack for the LAST WEEK of Middle Fall

I wake up to leaves from the redbud tree and the white mulberry tree on the lawn where I just yesterday. Today, I will just look and listen.

When I am sitting on the porch, I hear two Osage fruits fall into the great open palms of the Lenten roses near the west fence. At the pond, our five koi lie low on the bottom, subdued by the autumn. Pale grape leaves streak the honeysuckle hedge. Even though the hummingbird food slowly disappears, it seems that the bees are the only ones drinking. One white bindweed has blossomed near the trellis, and Ruby’s white phlox have a few new flowers. All the finches at the feeders have turned for winter.

Into the woods, the canopy opening in front of me: Zigzag goldenrod and all the asters are half gone; smartweed is blanched by the frost; drifts of snakeroot have gone to seed, brown and gray; deep patches of goldenrod all rusted, flowers and leaves matching now; wood nettle is spotted, drooping; wingstem and ironweed are twisted, sagging, brittle; climbing bittersweet is undressed, bright; the pale underside of blackberry leaves turn over in the warm east wind.

And this varied, mottled land reflects the motion of the sky, tells the rising of Orion up into the night, this leaf following red Antares, that leaf prophesying Betelgeuse. Open bittersweet along the path uncovers the Milky Way above me. Myopia takes everything in hand. In the glow of ripeness, the stars of November fall around me. Everything is here. All of the facts are in. I need look no further than the undergrowth for Taurus and the Pleiades.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Fall. In the meantime, watch and listen.

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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.