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Poor Will's Almanack: July 13 - 19, 2021

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Geza Radics
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Fourth Week of Deep Summer, the first full week of the Buzzing Cicada Moon, the fourth week of the sun in Cancer.

This week, the Earth is wavering,
balancing in its midyear pause,
vacillating between the high, excited birdsong of spring and early summer
and the rhythmic, rasping chanting
of late summer’s katydids and crickets.

And I wait in this quiet, expectant space,
the third week of July,
on the one hundred ninety-fourth day of the year,
as the great pull of the Sun reaches its limit,
and the season sways on the edge of the sky,
then breaks apart among all the spent petals of the garden,
folds into the darkening foliage of Deep Summer
and the decaying strata of April and May and June.

I look for cheer, for sense and meaning, in old details, withered leaves, spent flowers,
And I list the history of events around me,
coming to terms with loss in its teaching:
My favorites lessons have been
bloodroot, hepatica, red quince,
mock orange, iris, daisies,
strawberries, raspberries,
cardinal song, robin song, mourning dove song
favorites that have receded into the year.

When I turn the listing upside down,
Where the past is still to come,
My nostalgia goes away:
The cycles are bound together,
closed and tight, says the history of the birds and the flowers and the berries;
whatever is taken comes back again;
nothing leaves the circle or is left behind.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of Deep Summer. In the meantime, as July brings so many changes to landscape, remember the days of spring and early summer. They’ll be back again.

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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.