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Poor Will’s Almanack: May 23 - May 29, 2023

 Bradley Woods Reservation, Westlake, Ohio
LH Editor
Bradley Woods Reservation, Westlake, Ohio

Poor Will’s Almanack for the first week of Early Summer the first week of the Strawberry Moon, the first week of the Sun in Gemini.

When I was a child, I often walked in the woods. I carried a slingshot and sometimes did a little hunting.

I never identified plants or trees, nothing except chipmunks and blackbirds. I just moved through the woods and found my way.

When I grew up and rediscovered being in nature, I also discovered naming. I wanted to know the names of what I was finding. Naming, I felt, gave me more control over the world, more understanding. Names were beautiful, often like the creatures to which they referred. And since I had studied some Latin, I liked the Latin names of things, too.

These days, I am starting to forget some of the names I worked so hard to learn. I sometimes go back and check my guidebooks to find what I have lost. But I also discover that not knowing is a good thing.

I wonder, also, if I haven't been a prisoner of my own process for all these years, too attentive to keeping track and organizing. My forgetting might be like taking off my shoes to feel the cool grass on my feet, opening my skin to reality.

Now, without a slingshot, I can go back to the beginning and try to see where I am. Once more.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Early Summer. In the meantime, it's finally summertime. Leave the slingshot at home, and the guidebooks. too. Just wander.

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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.