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Poor Will's Almanack: April 23 - 29, 2013

Flickr Creative Commons user beedieu

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Fourth and Final Week Of Middle Spring

When I went fishing in South Carolina with my nephew a few weeks ago, I took home with me. We drove for ten hours southeast into the mountains and then down into sun and milder temperatures.

Spring came on quickly as we approached Charlotte, with redbuds along the road and bright yellow Jessamine in the undergrowth. I found violet wisteria in Columbia. At Santee, not far from the coast, dogwoods and iris and azaleas were in full flower.

Sitting out at night, I watched the Big Dipper move slowly around Polaris, Jupiter well over in the west, a familiar sky. Driving six hundred miles into late spring, I only knew what I had learned at home: All the markers along the highway were affirmations that told me where and when I was. In the mountains of West Virginia, I was back in early February. At Charlotte, I was stepping into May.

The essayist Rebecca Solnit says that home is always the first ruler. Home is a kind of Greenwich, a Prime Meridian, a noon mark for sequence and space around which everything spins. The very heart of local grounding is that it creates the ability to transcend its own limits. If the process of finding oneself within closed perimeters seems exclusionary, it is also exemplary and a form of introduction to the wide planet. Once I find home, I am not only able to go back to it again, I can also bring it with me across land and time. Whether I stay home or adopt a new home somewhere else, I know how the process works. It’s like if I love once, I can love again.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the First Week of Late Spring. In the meantime, wherever you go, take home with you.

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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.