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Poor Will's Almanack: July 20 - 26, 2021

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Poor Will’s Almanack for the Fifth Week of Deep Summer, the second week of the Buzzing Cicada Moon, the first week of the sun in Leo.

When I was in grade school, I used to love to fish at the small lake near my home. I could ride there on my bike, fishing pole in my basket. I would sit for hours on the shore watching my bobber in suspense. I never grew tired of waiting to see what would take my bait.

Later on in life, I rediscovered fishing with my nephew, who was always searching for the giant 100-pound catfish. We made numerous trips to famous catfish locations, and had many piscatorial adventures. I enjoyed waiting for giant creatures that lay beneath the dark waters…..but I finally started feeling bad for killing them and even catching them.

These days, I have a small pond in my yard full of multi-colored koi. I know them well, and they rush over to the side of the pond whenever I come near. They go wild when I feed them, even eat right out of my hand.

There is no waiting for these fish. They fight to be the first in line, flop over and around each other to get their share.

I experience no excitement at the thought of what might appear from the deep. I have no thrill of the catch or of killing and owning.

Of course, this is soft, suburban stuff. I am no old man and the sea (as in Hemmingway’s famous saga), just an old man and a pond. The encounters with my fish are not dramatic or heroic.

Just easy…… and comforting.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the sixth week of Deep summer. In the meantime, don’t kill things; just watch them.

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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.