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Poor Will's Almanack: June 14 - 20, 2022

Powerlines stand in the setting sun.
Powerlines stand in the setting sun.

Poor Will’s Almanack for the fourth week of Early Summer, the fourth week of the Hummingbird Moon, the fourth week of the sun in Gemini.

When I began to take notes about what I saw in nature — as I tried to beat my addiction to nicotine — I kept finding things that so many other people had already found.

I spent my first tobacco-free spring identifying the wildflowers I came across in the woods: skunk cabbage, bloodroot, hepatica, anemone and dozens and dozens of others. Placing their names in my notebook and the shapes and scents in my memory, I accumulated a new universe of living things and ideas.

There was no objective originality in the naming that I did. But what did it matter: I was taken in by the world of first times. The floor of the woods was not so much uncharted where I walked; the mysterious tabula rasa was, instead, my own mind. I wrote separate messages to myself about first sight, first touch, first understanding. There was no context except my own. There was no way I needed to (or could) connect all the dots of ecology and botany and biology. Everything was free. Meaning was simple. Everything was what it appeared to be.

I came to know there is only one traveler on the first road, crowded as it may be. And although the pubescent engagements of the journey may be shared, they need not be shared as fact or science but rather as un-juried gifts to self or to others as adrift and open as we.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of Early Summer. In the meantime, find something new. For the first time.

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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.