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Poor Will's Almanack: October 23 - 29, 2018

Elke Mader
Flickr Creative Commons

Several decades ago, I realized that strange things seemed to happen to me in the fall of the year. I seemed to lose my good sense, became more emotional and spastic. I wanted to try too many new things, and my judgement became even worse than it usually was. I called that combination of unusual excitement and blind stupidity the autumn surge. 

I have done some impulsive things at different time of my life during that surge, but perhaps the most bizarre was to become a door to door fuller brush salesman. That didn’t go so  well. I made one round on one block in a neighboring village and made one sale. Bless that customer’s heart. She bought the extra special stain removing brush. By the middle of October, I lost all interest in sales.

There have been other much more rash and inadvisable things, things in romance, for example that I did under the influence of the surge, but I’m not going to go there today.

And anyway, some recent studies have made me feel better about my autumn behavior. One study suggests that dopamine increases in the fall. Apparently, a dopamine surge could make a person want to sell fuller brush products or propose marriage. Other reports suggest that autumn changes bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder and make you get depressed and make you more likely to act without thinking.

So if you are thinking of a reason to welcome the coming winter, you can hope that the autumn surge will soon wither with the frost and you will gradually regain your sanity.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the final week of Middle Fall and the Final week of the Shattering Ginkgo Moon. In the meantime, look for the ginkgo leaves to come down all at once, and be careful of the autumn surge. And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

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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.