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Poor Will's Almanack: December 21 - 27, 2021

December 21 - 2
Young Sok Yun 윤영석
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for final week of Early Winter, the final week of the Sandhill Crane Migration Moon, the first full week of the sun in Capricorn.

In the calm of this year's solstice, I pause, like the sun ,in the space between the last events of autumn and the first of spring. The landscape is prequel, promise with less movement than waiting, a place before.

The palette of the season includes the deep, slow marks of the sun through a south window showing the arrival and departure of solstice;

The gathering of geese preparing for March; the starling murmurations swirling before pairing;

The vigil for the collapse of the leathery beech leaves and crisp knotweed leaves, the stiff swamp chestnut oak and black oak and scarlet oak leaves;

The vigil for pussy willows to crack in thaws; the swelling of newly planted daffodils, their roots spreading down from the cold, their sharp, white buds about to rise;

The vigil for sandhill cranes that migrate south at the turn of the year; the vigil for the first hardy Lenten Roses, poised for February;

The weeks before the tips of yellow aconites and purple crocuses; the time of quiet clusters of the river fish huddling in the deepest waters side by side.

It is the season of staying put, resting in the quiet of closure, dividing and holding patches of December here and now, before the time for things to happen, the days before the fierce hunger of mating and incarnation.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Deep Winter. In the meantime, just stay put and rest.

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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.