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Poor Will's Almanack: October 30 - November 5, 2018

geese fly overhead
Joanne Clifford
Flickr Creative Commons

Middle Fall gives way to Late Fall by the end of the week. Most black walnut trees, hackberry, cottonwood, serviceberry trees and maples are bare now. The foliage of the ginkgo trees is ready to collapse in the frost. 

Flocks of grackles and geese fly over almost every day, all heading south. Starlings, in their winter murmurations, swoop and dive above the cutover fields.

Still, against these autumnal signs, the final days of the year’s summer coincide with the first days of second spring, which are actually the first days of next spring.

March’s purple deadnettle comes up in the garden. Wood mint produces new stalks in the woods. Watercress revives in the sloughs. Next April’s garlic mustard, and May’s sweet rockets send up fresh basal leaves. Sweet Cicely grows back. The feathery hemlock becomes bushier in the sunnier days.

Wandering between all these signs, I imagine the power of the “thin time,” the contraditory space between seasons, the communion of the living and the dead, the call of second spring’s vitaltiy merging  with the call of winter’s rest.

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 and the first week of the Starling Murmuration Moon. In the meantime, take time to walk and imagine the thin space between us all.

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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.