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Poor Will's Almanack: September 20 - 26, 2022

Tom Blackwell

Poor Will’s Almanack for the third week of Early Fall, the transition to the Blackbirds in the Cornfields Moon, the first week of the Sun in Libra.

I woke up at four this morning, listened to the katydids chanting. I had been reading Anthony Storr’s book, Solitude, and I lay in bed thinking about his note on the perception of order.

"The human mind," writes Storr, "seems to be so constructed that the ... perception of order ... in the external world is mirrored, ... as if it were a discovery of a parallel order ... in the inner world of the mind."

And so I took inventory of the external world starting in the dark.

The insect chorus was rich and full: warbling of tree frogs, static of the tree crickets, chirping field crickets, rasping katydids.

Today was sunny and warm: cabbage white butterflies and even a rare Monarch came to the zinnias.

Scattered maples in town were turning red and orange. Most of the sycamore bark had come down. There were patches of bright scarlet in the sumac.

And my inventory went on and on,

I think that what happens to me in noting such details is that I feel a kind of order in the sequence, and once that order is internalized, then I personalize and can make sense of an otherwise indifferent landscape.

Then seasonal time becomes like an act of possession that is a step toward self-hood and then of making sense and of finding home in which nothing is foreign or out of place.

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, take inventory of just a few things, some nearby trees or bushes. Sometimes that's all it takes to make everything fall into place.

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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.