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Poor Will's Almanack: August 24 - 30, 2021

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Poor Will’s Almanack for the fourth week of Late Summer, the third week of the Restless Billy Goat Moon, the SECOND week the sun in Virgo

In the transition from summer to fall, from Leo to Virgo in the sky, some visual anchors on Earth are clear: In the roadsides, those anchors are the tall goldenrod, the white boneset, the purple New England asters, and the new beggarticks.

In the woods, zigzag goldenrod and white snakeroot complement the small-flowered white and violet asters. Yellow and orange touch-me-not flowers turn to brittle pods that shoot out their seeds when you squeeze them.

In the garden, roses, virgin’s bower, butterfly bush, and Russian sage are still flowering and hide the loss of lilies and coneflowers.

The forest canopy reveals its vulnerability, ashes, buckeye trees and box elders browning early, black walnut trees shedding, red maples paling.

These last constants of the year are set against the changing farmland patchwork of yellowing soybeans and drying cornstalks, empty wheat fields.

And the final weeks of this year’s summer coincide with the first days of the Season of Second Spring, a season that sometimes lasts until the end of winter.

March’s henbit comes up in the garden, initiating its eight-month season of steady growth. Next May’s sweet rockets and sweet Cicely grow back, and next July’s avens send up fresh basal leaves. Mint and watercress grow back in the brooks and springs.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of late summer. In the meantime, wander the closest woods or field. Look for touch-me-nots to pop.

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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.