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Poor Will's Almanack: January 2 - 8, 2018

Mark K.
Flickr Creative Commons

“Different atmospheric conditions – different kinds of weather- are, precisely different moods,” writes the phenomenologist,  David Abram.  “Wind, rain, snow, fog, hail, open skies, heavy overcast – each…affects the relation between our body and the living land in a specific way, altering the tenor of our reflections and the tonality of our dreams.

What might that mean this week? Maybe a little optimism, in spite of the arrival of Deep Winter.

The Bedding Plant Superoon, full  and at perigee (its position closest to Earth) on January 1 now begins to wane, softening lunar stress, even the weather.

Sunrise remains at its latest time of the winter until January 11 and the days and nights belong to the period of winter Sunstop, the darkest days of all.

Still a few last Quadrantid meteors might be visible after midnight, and the solar outriders, the morning stars, Jupiter and Mars, brighten the east at seven o’clock, their presence strangely comforting, perhaps because when we see and watch them, we know we are not adrift in a meaningless and cold darkness but rather somehow connected to the sky that will bring back the Sun.

In a way, we ride those planets and the stars around them, their motion always a motion toward spring, never really retrograde in their promise. 

Traveling under the sky, we can stop to measure time with simple observations. Now can the time to start a daily check of pussy willows. Their opening keeps time for the year; each cracking catkin tells of spring’s approach. And If you see the green tips of snowdrops emerging from the garden, measure them before they are covered with snow; then, measure the approach of March as they slowly grow.

And if you have made a twelve-week “Advent” wreath, today marks the end of the fifth week. When the twelfth week is over, the chilly but  promising season of Early Spring will have begun.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Deep Winter. In the meantime, watch the world to see, as David Abram might suggest,  how the land and sky “alters the tenor” of your reflections and your dreams.

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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.