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Poor Will's Almanack: November 27 - December 3, 2012

Flickr Creative Commons user Mike Houge

Poor Will's Almanack for the Final Week of Late Fall.

At this particular time of year, the last pieces of the autumn are starting to collect so quickly; the fragments are no longer disjointed pieces of October, no longer prophetic. They have suddenly become particles of the vast winter mosaic, and that the more of them I collect, the tighter and more detailed the result.

But there is another composite I live with almost all the time, the one of disconnected notes, the castoffs, the out-of-season observations, the ideas and the images that I do not connect, which also create moods or states of mind, but which are less clearly anchored or defined.

More and more lately, I am noticing too much, finding that my notes and thoughts exceed my grasp. Things are out of order, don't add up, don't fit in their boxes, are all loose ends. Listing and accumulation produce no coherent season, offer no interpretive set. I count beyond my ability to comprehend. There are too many objects and actions to manage.

All the events around me, instead of forming a cohesive union, lose their cement and fall apart. My enumeration becomes erratic and chaotic, but stubborn and determined, an act of protest against my inability to understand the whole from the part.

At first I despair of making sense of all this, and then, overwhelmed, I accept that synthesis is always illusory, that there is no great mosaic. Once the heart and mind are set adrift, the conundrum of meaning is resolved. Everything is simply… what it is!

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the First Week of Early Winter. In the meantime, if you stop trying so hard, if let it all go, maybe it will make more sense.

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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.