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Poor Will's Almanack: March 26 - April 1, 2013


Poor Will’s Almanack for the Transition Time to Middle Spring.

I have been bringing together all my almanac notes for the past thirty years. And I try to separate myself from my observations, but that is becoming more difficult. It is becoming clearer to me that these notes are autobiographical, even though they seem to have little to do with me and everything to do with the trivia of what is happening at certain times throughout the small world in which I live.

I am finding that natural events, supposedly outside me, are actually internal events. And I wonder if external reality, as Einstein asserted, is altered by observation, how much more is the observer’s reality altered by observing, by the internalizing of external events.

Anyone who stays in a house or town or relationship for an extended period of time undergoes this change. Since both observer and observed, subject and object, are completely porous, association, over time, permeates body and spirit.

Certain pieces of land or a garden or furniture take on lives of their own inside the one who lives with them. They grow into the self and resist exorcism, persist in memory and emotion.

And so the hundreds of thousands of words I have collected in my daybook for the year seep into me and out of me, and they are both the walk and the talk.

I sometimes struggle with the banality of all this. I want to see meaning in larger, even maybe heroic, terms, in pivotal decisions, and wrenching or joyful life-changing events, and not in old chairs or flashbacks or notes about the time a cardinal sang twenty-three years ago.

But if I practice enough, sometimes I know what to do with the big and the small. Sometimes things come together, and the pigments of the lesser objects and events flow and mix with the primary forces of momentous objects and events, and I can see, for just a few seconds, a purpose and a pattern in it all.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of middle spring. In the meantime, practice bringing it all together, the big and the small.

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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.