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Poor Will's Almanack: December 1 - 7, 2020

close up of embers in a bonfire
Jens-Chr. Strandos
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the transition week to Early Winter, the third week of the Manger Moon. It is the third week of the Sun in wintery Sagittarius.

This afternoon I gave in for a moment to the darkness of December, the bite of the wind, the sense of Advent, the premonition of a storm, the aftermath of leaf-fall, a twinge of primal fear.

Leaving my fireside, I went out to the woods.

I came across a small pool surrounded by bare saplings, a pond in a glade. It reminded me of the flooded field I played in as a boy one April, reminded me, too, of so many beaches and dreams.

Later that day, I was driving south through the fog. I settled back in the truck and watched the countryside, looked out at the gray, still, farm ponds.

And the ponds became transformed to something else: the morning’s perfect glade, then an entire tapestry passed through my brain to:

Once, before the time of freeways, I drove east through the Great Smoky Mountains in the rain, winding through the night, holding my breath at each curve, until I finally emerged onto the broad flatlands of the South Carolina low country. Ahead of me lay sunrise and the coastal plain, the treacherous hills gone, the way made straight. Everything seemed now within my grasp.

And today, memory in these woods as an antidote to winter, like a promise of spring.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Early Winter. In the meantime, the road of Sagittarius stretches out before us all, taking us to spring.

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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.