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Poor Will's Almanack: August 28 - September 3, 2012

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Poor Will's Almanack for the fourth week of Late Summer.

Summer is an entire life of landscape, lush and complete like the body and soul of a person grown to sweet and successful maturity. Now I see it coming all undone, see how perfection can unravel so swiftly and deliberately.

Still... in the year’s symmetry and counterpoint, I tell myself, nothing really falls out of place: descent is as impeccable as ascent, renewal as clear as decay.

The unfolding of August reveals the truth of matter and time, buds beneath exhausted flowers, simultaneous movement away and toward, tidal rotation, a perfect loop that denies cosmology of everlasting expansion, a circle which denies that everything is traveling toward some particular end, denies that our acts and our lives are expanding forever outward like the universe, exploding from a tiny seed and egg, their eventual end unknowable or tracked by Jesus for doomsday judgment.

Sometimes, of course, it doesn’t help to try to understand how everything fits together, how bad is balanced out by good, how loss is soothed by gain, how everything must have a purpose, how life has meaning, how all my actions are watched and weighed. And when I try too hard to understand rebirth in dying, the truth of symmetry and counterpoint blurs all the edges of my late-summer confusion. Looking ever more closely, I find the borders of my thoughts and emotions are lost from view.

I concentrate just on what is here before me now, understanding less of what I see the closer I move until I reduce geography to my unfocused inner eye; there everything is present and porous and connected. Then I lose control of transcendence and destiny. Blinded by the world so close, I foil the receding glow of the Big Bang and linear time. I curl up and ride, dizzy and undone, on the foggy, spinning radii of seasons.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Miami Valley Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth and final week of late summer. In the meantime, forget the big picture, stay with just the here and now.

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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.