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Poor Will's Almanack: October 31 - November 6, 2017

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Standing at the end of October, I hold fast to remnants of the year and to the emotions that stick to them, feelings that reflect the things I see, spun from the tilting of the Earth toward solstice.

From the alley: the last two apples still hanging from the apple tree, the wilting of the final purple fall crocus, the blackening of the tall goldenrod, a handful of milkweed plants, pods splayed, silky seeds shining in the low sun.

In the yard: the blushing of the oakleaf hydrangea, the yellowing of the Jerusalem artichoke leaves, the hosta leaves and the wild asparagus stalks; the darkening of the dahlia stems and the impatiens burned by frost; two autumn violets hidden among the sweet Williams, the stubborn last pink roses and golden coneflowers; the steady feeding of chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, sparrows, cardinals, finches. An orb weaver spider waiting in his web on the screen of the southeast bedroom window.

Down the street: a disheveled magnolia, a gilded ginkgo, the emptiness of the neighbors’ sugar maples, black privet berries appearing as their foliage thins, the changes gathering momentum piece by piece, soft honeysuckle berries all over the street. And a great flock of robins, starlings and blackbirds traveling with them, circling and pausing and flying on from the northeast over the bare locusts and hackberries, chirping and chortling the language of the journey that lies ahead.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the first full week of Late Fall. In the meantime, watch the remnants of the year. Hold them close.

Poor Will’s Almanack for 2018 is now available. Order yours from Amazon, or, for an autographed copy, order from www.poorwillsalmanack.com. And you can purchase my book, Home is the Prime Meridian: Essays on Time and Place and Spirit, from the same sites. The essay collection contains many of the selections heard on this radio segment.

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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.