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Poor Will's Almanack: December 12 - 18, 2023

Starling and the moon.
Kennet Kjell Johansson Hultman
Starling and the moon.

Poor Will’s Almanack in the time of early winter in the time of the Mistletoe Moon and the time of the low sun in  sagittarius.

One past autumn morning, I was walking Bella, my border collie, through the alley. I could hear starlings and grackles ahead of  me, and I hurried down to see them. Past my favorite apple tree, I came under the cries and the rushing of a great flock. 

The birds knew where they were going: southeast, stopping in the branches above me for a just few seconds, calling to one another, looking out above the high canopy, then hurrying, diving on, one after another, I felr swept away and then held tight in their intensity and their certainty.

They protected me it seemed, with their numbers and power. The dense, excited coverlet of the flock was fortification against what would surely come.

They were filtering and sorting through the daunting approach of the winter, and giving me a balance like the birds themselves must have felt, as they were pulled by time and context out into the autumn sky.

Surrounded and captured, I gave in. I stood loved, cradled, suspended, caressed, enfolded in a field of feathers, here on this familiar ground, in the presence of the final fragments of the last trees of autumn.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with more notes on the seasons. In the meantime, as you walk, find an imaginary place under a tent of birds or leaves or stars or memories.

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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.