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Poor Will's Almanack: April 20 – 26, 2021

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Andrew Seaman
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Flickr Creative Commons

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack for the Fourth Week of Middle Spring, the full moon week of the Cows Switching their Tails Moon, the first week of the sun in Taurus.

I’ve been thinking about the simple phenology principles I put together several years ago, one of them being that if something in nature happens once, it will probably happen again (without which supposition no one could make any sort of plans).

But looking back over my notes, the most obvious principle might be that if something happens once in nature, it has probably happened before. For example, the wild phlox and bluebells that grace the woods now are flowers with a history.

Uncertainty about the future that accompanies climate change does not affect what has already happened. If the present is tentative, and if the future is in grave danger, at least their antecedents are not.

And so the enjoyment of what happens in this instant (these leafing skunk cabbages, these blossoming nodding trilliums) has deep roots in time and need not be dismissed as threatened or ephemeral. The past is not undone.

I look deeply into the repeating mirror of recollection that recreates near identical images and happenings back and back not only through the years of my lifetime but so far beyond, hundreds of years, into an imagined infinity.

So I can be here in all of time, firmly settled in the passage, no matter what lies ahead.
I depend not only on the likelihood that spring will come again because it is coming now; I depend on the certainty of all springs that ever were.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Spring. In the meantime, the future, the present, the past: let it all be good news.

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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.