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Poor Will's Almanack: August 14 - 20, 2018

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Even though the summer may be hot and humid and  seemingly endless, its stability is deceptive. Sometimes a cold front around August 10th is especially chilly, breaking the stagnation of the Dog Days.

Sometimes leaf miners lace the locust trees, creating patches of gray and brown in the tree line. Sometimes a few maples turn red and stand out like the hand of October from all the other trees of August.

Bird calls have changed during the past month, and the crickets and katydids are louder.

The ripening land strengthens a sense of anticipation, a feeling that something major is about to happen. Blackberries are sweet under the Blackberry Jam Moon, and they are joined by the elderberries and the plums and peaches, promising pies. Ragweed and goldenrod seasons fill the winds with pollen and foretell September

Wheat fields are bare, and giant rolls of hay lie out across the countryside the harvest bundled for winter. Some farmers are cutting corn for silage. Grackle flocking increases while cardinal song becomes fainter. Murmurations of starlings become more common, and long flocks of blackbirds cross the sky.

These and so many other events change the color and the texture of my moods, prepare me for the radical transformation of the months ahead when time turns upside down.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of Late Summer.  In the meantime, pay attention to your moods this August, be ready for the time ahead.

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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.