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Poor Will's Almanack: July 25 - 31, 2017

Natt Muangsiri
Flickr Creative Commons

This past spring, I walked, an ancient pilgrimage route in northern Spain. Many of the simple lessons I had learned prior to my trek resurfaced as I went along.  For example, I relearned:

Walking slowly matters.  Anywhere is as good as somewhere. Home is where you choose it to be. Truth comes from the ground up. The horizon is the place to be. Distance is physiology. Nothing is ever the same. Motion is the great teacher. The path ahead is the great teacher.

Now that I have returned home, I relearn other basic lessons, like….

Stillness is the great teacher. Staying put is the great teacher. Everything is always the same. The horizon is right in front of me. Somewhere is better than anywhere. Home is better than somewhere. Home is the great teacher.

And then I think: There are no great teachers. There is no path.

It doesn’t matter to me that the lessons sync or clash, are true or false, make sense or not. Lessons, once they are embodied, are  - of course - physical. Living and learning are easy then. Like night and day, motion and stillness, knowing and not knowing  are opposites that require and complement each other. The body, like the earth itself, knows that, knows what is true and takes care of everything.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the sixth and final week of middle summer. In the meantime, move or stay still: it’s all good.


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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.