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Poor Will's Almanack: December 1 - 7, 2015

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Martin LaBar
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Flickr Creative Commons

No one suspects the days to be gods, says Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Self-Reliance.

Here in the last days of late fall I look for the divine. Each day is only the sum of its parts. The gods are not only triune but plentiful. They lie out before me out as far as I can see. Each object and each event, present or past, literally creates the sacred day in my mind.

The last brittle leaves of pear trees clattering to the street; the late blooms of witch hazel, sweet lettuce and cress and parsley protected in the garden, rosemary, thyme, oregano, fat chard still good for picking; woolly bear caterpillars still out on the warm country roads; tufts of seeds of goldenrod and small white asters and the once violet New England asters, yucca stalks toppled from storms; dry pumpkin-brown heads of marigold quivering in the wind; blush on the wild geranium; lamium purpureum, dead nettle, full of new growth and purple flowers, dusky forsythia leaves braving the cold, pink azalea leaves forecasting their spring blossoms.

New clover leaves, two new dandelions; under an apple tree, one wild strawberry flower. To one side of the woodpile, orange euonymus berries pushing out from their white pods, then late red honeysuckle berries, crisp bittersweet hulls, tawny leaves of the goosefoot. Feathery achillea returning, butterfly bush and comfrey, dock, garlic mustard all vigorous, two deep yellow roses surrounded by mint, three pale violet sweet rocket flowers nestling against an old stone wall.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack, I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of early winter. In the meantime, be ready: remember that no one expects these days to be gods.

Bill Felker’s Poor Will’s Almanack for 2016 is now available. For a sample of this new annual, and for information on how to order your copies, visit 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.