In Sounder, how did the boy know the time of the year when he walked to town? What were the clues?

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Along the walk into town, the boy is able to recognize a number of signs, or clues, which allow him to discern the time of year. For example, in the fall, "until gathering time," his father had told him to look for "golden-green clumps with white berries that grew high...

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Along the walk into town, the boy is able to recognize a number of signs, or clues, which allow him to discern the time of year. For example, in the fall, "until gathering time," his father had told him to look for "golden-green clumps with white berries that grew high up in the forks of water elm and sycamore trees." These "clumps" are mistletoe, and thus mistletoe indicates to the boy that the time of year is somewhere between "early fall" and "gathering time."

When he gets closer to town the boy hears church bells ringing. These bells indicate that it is Christmas time. They are rung to announce the beginning of the Christmas period. This is also indicated by the windows of the houses, which are "silvery and gold and green and red and sparkling." These are of course the traditional colors of Christmas decorations.

The boy is also able to recognize signs which indicate that it is summer. For example, in the summer, "Weeds [grow] on either side of the road," and in the summer the earth is so soft that "a horse and wagon [make] almost no noise." Also in the summer there are bramble patches from which he and other children pick blackberries.

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