Between full summer and the final leafdrop of early December, many separate micro seasons blend with one another, the flowers of August sometimes lasting into early fall, the flowers of September sometimes blooming out of turn before late summer, sometimes the trees keeping their green and leaves well toward middle autumn.
Markers of this third week of early fall can sometimes be the same as those of the second or fourth week. If I calculate time by what occurs in the landscape, then progress toward winter may seem to stagnate or swirl or even flow backward like the eddies of a river.
That kind of spin occurs especially when weather seems out of sync with what is happening to plants or when October’s second spring rebirths the foliage of watercress, dock, parsnips, garlic mustard, sweet Cicely and sweet rocket.
Those eddies can also produce a feeling of suspension or captivity in time. Held in their ambivalence, I might experience a heat wave that never seems to let up or a gray winter that goes on forever.
A hard freeze or a storm that pulls down half the leaves at once cuts the lazy vortex free, loosens the autumn backwater and takes it hard into the main current. Then I relax in the clarity of cold and the end of waiting.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of early fall. In the meantime, pay attention to your emotions as they ebb and flow with autumn’s ambivalence.