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Poor Will's Almanack: December 23 - 29, 2014

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“We live in memory, and our spiritual life is at bottom simply the effort of our memory to persist, to transform itself into hope…into our future,” states the philosopher, Miguel de Unamuno.

Of course, once you have uncovered the span the year's cycle, you can see the past and tell the future. Stasis and passage become inseparable. Awareness of landmarks in the seasons encompasses not only what was but what still may be.

And place is the friend of time and memory. Place is is the context in which we replay the sources of our souvenirs, sometimes projecting alternate beginnings and endings, following threads leading back or forth, telling story in each context, trying to relive the story or change the story, come closer to the true stage, make sense of the event or object. All of that is not only reverie but a search for meaning:

At the end of early winter, we can look back at the entire trajectory of the past. We know what happened in nature and in our lives. And so everyone is a seer and a prophet. We understand the pattern. The task of memory is to transform and to vision itself into hope and into our future.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of deep winter and the third week of the Marauding Mouse Moon, the second full week of the sun in Capricorn, and the fifth week of the new natural year. In the meantime, transform holiday nostalgia and memory into something new.

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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.