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Poor Will's Almanack: June 29 – July 5, 2021

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Poor Will’s Almanack for the Second Week of Deep Summer, the fourth week of the Mating Milkweed Bug Moon, the second week of the sun in Cancer.

Many years ago, I was doing research on belief systems among Mayan Guatemalan coffee plantation workers.

One of the ideas I encountered was that humans could have guardian spirits (called nahuals) which reflected their personality or deep nature. For example, a fierce warrior might have a tiger as a nahual.

When my dog, Ranger, died this past March, I had an unusual mental collapse that seemed unrelated to grief (as I had felt it in other situations).

Ranger was an old dog and spent much of his time sleeping or just watching me. Whenever I moved, he would follow me. He was a beautiful creature, a rescue with major health problems, mostly border collie, and he seemed attached to me in a quiet, solid way I had never experienced with an animal

Recently, I have had dreams of Ranger looking at me, as he always did. It occurred to me after one of those dreams that, even though we had been together for only a couple of years, Ranger had been my nahual. And whether or not such a notion was literally true did and does not seem relevant.

And I have noticed other emotions that seem to connect to different kinds of creatures, especially some of the kinds of insects that I have seen in the garden over the years. I have grown fond of invasive species of plants and shrubs. I loved the 17-year cicadas that recently took over the region for a few weeks.

Nothing too unusual here, I suppose. Emptiness seeks balance and compensation, reveals spaces that didn’t seem to exist before. Guardian spirits may not appear magically to fit a pre-formed soul or personality but rather can be creatures of opportunity that discover and inform their partners, keep them company.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of Deep Summer. In the meantime, think about…your nahual.

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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.