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Poor Will's Almanack: August 6 - 12, 2013

Flickr Creative Commons user jharris0221

It seems to me now that the spin of the world is speeding up, that time is moving more quickly than it did just a month ago. It seems that late summer is sinking around me, and that the entire year is collapsing, and that there is too much left to feel and do.

I struggle to find footholds with which to keep my balance in time

I want to understand everything that is happening to nature and to me, but I get distracted by thinking and trying to know, and then I lose my place and fall away from the path.

Of course, there is nothing except the summer itself if I simply talk the walk:

Only words make the world. Nothing exists outside the reach of a voice. I look at the ground and turn it into truth: two ants, a clump of grass, a dandelion gone to seed, a house fly, a mosquito near my foot, a broken twig.

If I pause or stop or wonder or wish or want, the real summer becomes longings and nostalgias and regrets and reminiscence,

So I pull myself back and talk the walk again: the black walnut fallen to the sidewalk, the fat Osage fruit thumping to the back garden.

I exercise the discipline of litany and listing events, trusting that events in words accumulate, that more and more and more will be enough.

This is wishful thinking, I am well aware. It is a nervous chatter that distracts me from what might really lie behind the shortening of the days.

Still, wishing or wanting are the vultures of the word. They rip and tear the flesh of my litany, my summer chant.

And if I can stay here, without stopping, without looking back or forward, I will keep my balance. I will talk and talk the walk.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the Second week of late summer. In the meantime, let go of nostalgia and longing. Just talk the walk.

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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.