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Poor Will's Almanack: October 6 - 12, 2015

Jen Goellnitz
Flickr Creative Commons

Notes that cover decades of observations for the same day offer the writer and reader a radial time lapse in which any given 24-hour period is magnified and enhanced by an accumulation of related events from that day in different years.

The images and impressions from each year overlap, some almost the same, others seeming out of focus, but all together creating one time-lapse day across decades.

Instead of happenings disjointed and cut off from their counterparts of previous years – as happens in linear time, the phenomena of any given day are conjoined through fractal repetition – in which self-similar units repeat year after year, enhancing one another with their variations as well as with their remarkable sameness.

What can be done with days can be done with other phases of the natural year. A description of this first week of middle fall in my yard is likely to be nearly identical to a description of the same week next year or last year or thirty years ago or, most likely, over a hundred years ago. Floating on the spin of the planet, above calendars and defined by what actually occurs, the pieces of time are interchangeable.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of middle fall. In the meantime, time travel: let yourself drift back and forth through this one season in all its years past and to come.

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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.