Poor Will’s Almanack for the Second Week of Early Winter, the third week of the natural year.
As the cold deepens with the progress of Early Winter, the promises of the new year ahead lie out before us in the names of its moons.
This December's Orchid Moon accompanies orchids in bloom throughout Hawaii and northern greenhouses, the flowers promising all of the riches of the year ahead.
January's Jessamine Moon presides over the golden blossoms of one of the most precious of Gulf coast vines.
February's Moon is the Bluebonnet Moon that announces the blooming of the desert and the gradual advance of Late Winter across the North.
Along the 40th Parallel, pussy willows emerge under the Pussy Willow Moon of March.
April's moon is the Morel Mushrooms Moon that parallels not only mushrooms but the great dandelion and crabapple bloom.
Under May's Clover Moon, clovers of all colors and sizes are the harbingers of the best of pasture time throughout the country.
June ripens the Mulberry Moon for pies, and July's Dog Days open the soft-petaled touch-me-nots under the Touch-Me-Not-Moon.
The Ragweed Moon brings heat and pollen and harvest to late August and September. The Leafturn Moon follows the transformation of sugar maples through October, and is followed by the Second Spring Moon of Late Fall, when the undergrowth starts to revive after leafdrop.
The Sandhill Crane Migration Moon is the last moon of the natural year of 2011, followed by the first moon of 2012, the Camelback Cricket Moon, the moon that calls these crickets out from your basement to bring you luck.
And through all of this, our own steps, our own phases, could be named according to the world we see, like moons, guiding us in private seasons.
Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the third Week of Early Winter, the fourth week of the natural year. In the meantime, watch for the Orchid Moon to wax in the evenings throughout the week.
Poor Will's Almanack for 2011 ---- a full year of Bill Felker's ruminations, along with astronomical information, notes on gardening, farming and the progress of the year --- is now available. More information can be found at poorwillsalmanack.com