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Poor Will's Almanack: September 29 – October 5, 2015

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Juanita Demchak
/
Flickr Creative Commons

These last days of early autumn, I hear starlings chattering and whistling in the trees every morning. I watch the drying of goldenrod until it blends with the Bermuda grass, foxtail, smooth brome, orchard grass and timothy all gone to seed. The black walnut and cottonwood trees along my block are bare.

Near the river, I find one blue lobelia, one tall bellflower, some red clover and scattered white snakeroot. In my journal, I write down the yellowing of wild grape leaves, yellow milkweed, yellow elms, yellow shagbark hickory, yellow spicebush, a locust yellow around its red thorns. I see nettles bleached with age, the last huge silver spider webs hanging in the black wingstem and shining in the sun. I hear the calls of October crows.

Red and blue dragonflies still visit the swamp. Crickets are jumping in the warm grass, but I don’t see daddy longlegs hunting, Leaves cover the path, sycamore, sassafras, dogwood, buckeyes. My mulberry tree has one bright yellow leaf. Below my honeysuckle hedge, I find the first junco here for winter. I try to avoid running over woolly bear caterpillars as they hurry across the road in front of me. Small flocks of robins are migrating through the neighborhood.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of middle fall. In the meantime, look and find and stay close to the last days of early fall.

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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.