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Poor Will's Almanack: November 27 - December 3, 2018

Paul Comstock
Flickr Creative Commons

The Starling Murmuration Moon wanes into its final phase and darkens throughout the first days of December.  Sunset reaches its earliest time of the year by the weekend, and remains at that setting time until the end of December’s second week.

On my walk at the end of Late Fall, with Sun and Moon both waning, I see the heads of thimble plants have come undone.  All the stubborn pear and beech and Osage leaves are down. At the river’s edge, the water is rippled blue, black, green, and brown, bare tree branches tangled in reflections. 

A moth, maybe an inch in wingspan, flutters from one clump of leaves to another, almost like a grasshopper. I count three dandelions along the way; they are like overwintering robins, both remnants and prophets.

Asters are coming undone. Leafcup is blackened by the cold. Dock, garlic mustard and dame’s rocket are limp.  One milkweed pod has burst, silk dangling. Strawberry leaves are turning red and orange. Dry pumpkin-brown heads of marigold quiver in the wind.

A field of goldenrod, seeds covered with frost, shines in the sun, fruit far more exotic than its flowers. All but three shriveled staghorns are gone from a clump of sumac. Thistles are bedraggled, foliage curled and gray. A small hunting spider hunts in the dry leaves.

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 and the transition week to the new Flowering Jessamine Moon. In the meantime, walk to find the remaining pieces of the year. Then you can see new pieces when they arrive.

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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.