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Poor Will's Almanack: November 7 - 13, 2017

Martin LaBar
Flickr Creative Commons

When I am sitting on the porch, I hear two Osage fruits fall into the great open palms of the Lenten roses near the west fence. At the pond, my koi lie low on the bottom, subdued by the autumn. Pale grape leaves streak the honeysuckle hedge. Even though the hummingbird food slowly disappears, it seems that the yellow jackets are the only ones drinking. One white bindweed has blossomed near the trellis, and Ruby’s white phlox have a few new flowers. All the finches at the feeders have lost their gold and are ready for winter. 

In the woods, drifts of snakeroot have gone to seed, brown and gray; deep patches of goldenrod all rusted, flowers and leaves matching now; wood nettle is  spotted, drooping; wingstem and ironweed are twisted, sagging, brittle; climbing bittersweet is undressed, bright orange; the pale underside of blackberry leaves turn over in the warm east wind. 

And this varied, mottled land reflects the motion of the sky, tells the rising of Orion up into the night, this leaf following red Antares, that leaf prophesying Betelgeuse. Myopia takes everything in hand. In the glow of ripeness, the stars of November fall around me. Everything is here. All of the facts are in. I need look no further than the undergrowth for Taurus and the Pleiades.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Late Fall. In the meantime, even if the clouds obscure the night sky, watch the markers of the land around you, telling about the movement of the stars.

Poor Will’s Almanack for 2018 is now available. Order yours from Amazon, or, for an autographed copy, order from www.poorwillsalmanack.com. And you can purchase my book, Home is the Prime Meridian: Essays on Time and Place and Spirit, from the same sites. The essay collection contains many of the selections heard on this radio segment. 

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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.