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Poor Will's Almanack: November 24 - 30, 2020

closeup of sparrow at a green bird feeder
John Brighenti
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the fourth week of late fall, the second week of the Manger Moon. It is the second week of the Sun in wintery Sagittarius.

The other day, a friend had told me about a poem in which a meditator sits with Jesus until his ego disappears and only Jesus is left.

Sitting on my back porch in this mild afternoon, I become the Jesus of the poem losing myself in the last leaves of autumn.

I would actually like to sit with Jesus, but he’s gone, leaving me behind with my stream of consciousness.

At my feeders sparrows alternate with black-capped chickadees, with aromas of plants and fruits I can’t name or recall, layers of other autumns, the flickering of years that have no names.

I write down what I see over and over again, but I can’t capture the anniversaries that seem to land on me then fall away in the soft wind.

My ego pursues meaning, existential explanations about role and persona and value: these, too, are late flowers brought in from the coming cold, seeds saved and set aside in old envelopes, leaves salvaged to press.

Now the sunset though the backyard trees matches the dusky, sweet-peach breasts of my November chickadees, and at dusk I prove to myself once again that I exist, and that I look for God, wondering if the geese fly will over again in the early dark like they did yesterday, so many things still unnamed, unworded for winter. I wait for Jesus. Maybe he’ll be by tomorrow.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the transition week to Early Winter. In the meantime, sit outside in the cold dusk. Wait for Jesus.

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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.