Poor Will's Almanack: November 30 - December 5, 2011

Nov 29, 2011

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack for the Final Week of Late Fall.

I always feel an excitement, a suspense in the last days of Late Autumn. What sometimes seems simply a graying or browning of the landscape is a shell or framework on which to weave new tapestries and textures.

Any day only comes to be for us through observation and awareness. Anxious not to lose a moment, I pay attention.

In the park where I walk, the paths have stayed green in spite of the cold, contrasting with dull fields beside them. Osage fruits are almost all down, stand out chartreuse, surreal, at random along my river walk. I brush against a patch of black-eyed Susans with brittle foliage, petals gone, centers so black.

Yesterday, I saw the first juncos of the winter, their white breasts ready for snow. Golden bittersweet berries were showing, pushing out from their pale hulls, high in a leafless tree. Hydrangea and mock orange leaves were curled and blackened from frost. On my black walnut tree, only three of the walnuts remained, hanging alone, waiting for a storm. The blue sky was full of sweeping cirrus, southwest wind strong in my face.

Cleaning one of our closets, my wife Jeanie found a family of camel crickets, two large and four small ones, living in an empty shoebox. When she picked up the box, the largest one jumped onto her sweater as though it were defending the family. Camel crickets, of course, bring good luck in winter, and she tucked them all safely in the greenhouse.

Next week on Poor Will’s Almanack: notes for the first week of early winter. In the meantime, form a day from what you choose to see. There could be good luck waiting.