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

Flickr Creative Commons user MarilynJane

Once in a while I wonder about the meaning of summer, and that, of course, is a thought too far.

So, I tell myself, just stay with the fifth week of middle summer. If I go back to spring or early summer, in my memory, I throw the wheel of time way out of kilter, and I wobble in its remnants and its chaff and clutter, the fallen mulberries and the sweet rocket seeds, the hay and the straw, the fledglings grown and the turquoise eggs that were flung and lost in the storms of May, regret and nostalgia and reminiscence.

And if I go ahead to the future, I burst headlong into the clutches of autumn, its thrilling, disheveled embrace that leads, of course, to bare and chilling winter.

In the face of all that, there is nothing like the firm, bright world that seems to lie before me

Tall coneflowers with buds. Bumblebees in the sweet milkweed. Along the roadsides, Canadian thistledown is coming undone in wads, spreading puffed and unruly across the fields. Sticky burdock is in early bloom in the alley, buckeyes maybe three-fourths full size in the park. The first elderberries are turning purple by the pond.

So long as I am able, I will collect and hold these immediate pieces of the world. There is no God outside these things, nor should there be, I mean the God made flesh, of course: All things flutter and sing within that presence.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the sixth week of middle summer. In the meantime, stay with the FIFTH week of middle summer – don’t let it go.

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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.