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Poor Will's Almanack: October 27- November 2, 2020

Orange Autumn Leaves
Liz West
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the final week of middle fall, the second week of the Corn and Soybean Harvest Moon. It is the second week of the Sun in Scorpio.

This is the thin time
the world turns inward
and the chilling air grows thick
with dreams and mystery
writes poet Carole Mathys

Many people consider the transition period at the end of October to be a “thin time,” a porous stage not only between phases of the year but between the spheres of the living and the dead.

And the parallel of endings and beginnings in natural history creates an interval of illusion in which the senses are not always certain of their place in time.

For example, the border between the landscape of November and the landscape of April is often more open than a linear calendar suggests.

Sometimes now the tree line shines orange like it does when hepatica and snow trilliums first blossom beneath it. Hedgerows sometimes glow yellow in the rain like rows of tall sweet clover or forsythia in bloom. Sometimes in the thin time, waterleaf grows strong along the rivers. Celandine, dandelions, chickweed and violets bloom in the alleys. Seeds sprout in rotting logs. The last leaves of dogwood show through the undergrowth, as soft and pink as dogwood flowers. The low November sun sets the grass and plants glowing like they glow in spring, and when the sky is clear blue and the air is warm, reality contradicts linear reason.

All of this produces in me a feeling of of compensation for the death of the year. I walk the woods, and I turn inward to the mystery. I willingly touch the emotional confusion, willingly misread the signs that allow passage to both memory and fantasy.

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. In the meantime, let go. Be confused. Breathe the air that the poet calls “thick with dreams and mystery.”

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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.