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Poor Will's Almanack: February 8-14, 2011

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Poor Will’s Almanack for The third and final week of late winter, the eleventh week of the natural year.

In my winter moods, nothing is ever what it appears to be be; one thing becomes the sign of another. Like children playing the game of telephone, I dialogue with myself until my thoughts come full circle, transformed into something completely different from the image that began the conversation.

This morning in the woods, I came across a small pool surrounded by bare saplings, a pond in a glade. It reminded me of the flooded field I played in as a boy one April, reminded me, too, of so many beaches and dreams.

Later in the day, I was driving through the fog south of town. I settled back in my truck and watched the countryside, looked out at the gray, quiet fields, the glow of sunset beyond the tree line, my mind wandering. Once, before the time of freeways, I drove east through the Great Smoky Mountains in the rain, winding through the night, holding my breath at each curve, until I finally emerged onto the broad flatlands of South Carolina. Ahead of me lay sunrise and the coastal plain, the treacherous hills gone, the way made straight and free.

Today, the recollections around me continue to be dendrites extending from within and from without, pulling me deeper into their tangles. I can never be certain what the landscape will provoke. I walk through plain but loaded contexts, stumble unexpectedly over associations that transcend decades, literally lives and deaths. Behind each tree, in each skyline, lie coiled masses of impressions, wild and tangled like salamanders mating in the dark ponds of February.

Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the first week of early spring. In the meantime, watch your mind carry you into so many other springtimes in your life. © Copyright 2011, WYSO

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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.