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Poor Will's Almanack: August 4 - 10, 2020

Liz West / Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the seventh and final week of Deep Summer, the third week of Tomato and Sweet Corn Moon. It is the third week of the Sun in Leo.

Philosophers of natural time suggest that humans interpret events-in-nature through stories that make those events them comprehensible.

But what kind of stories might they be talking about? I suppose some kinds of stories about events in nature are simply linear associations with other events in nature.

For example, this week, when I noticed fully formed black walnuts fallen to the ground, I remembered that black walnut leaves are some of the first to fall, and then I thought about all kinds of falling leaves, and then the about winter to come. I told myself that story without really trying. It came and went in an instant.

And associations from certain events in nature to other events in nature can tell different stories and, at least for a little while, provide some relief from the future.

For example, instead of moving the plot of the black walnut story ahead to winter, I could focus on other events in the present: the August flowers of the black-eyed Susans and the tall goldenrod and bright purple ironweed and tall coneflowers and the giant cup plants of the fields, the boneset and Joe Pye weed of the swamps, the leafcup and touch-me-nots in the deep woods.

All of time is a story. We can tell it the way we see it or wish to see it.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Summer In the meantime, watch your mind tell stories. It’s telling time.

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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.