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Poor Will's Almanack: November 29 - December 5, 2016

As the last leaves of the year come down, seed catalogs start arriving in my mailbox, and I plan for spring under the Bedding Plant Seeding Moon.  Usually, I order a few packages of geraniums, coleus and petunias, and I start them under grow lights close to the furnace, which happens to be in the attic. 

If I keep the soil warm, well watered and close to the fluorescent bulbs, the seeds germinate within a week or so and then develop steadily throughout the winter.

Although I enjoy the flowers that the mature plants produce in spring and summer, for me, the best part of sprouting seeds in winter is sitting next to them and watching them safe in the warmth, disconnected from cold and snow and the rest of my life.

There, the only sound is the soft whir of the furnace fan. All around me and the plants and the grow lights, the room is dark and private. My eyes and, it seems, my longing itself search the magical glowing green of the sprouts for meaning. All their prophetic power rests in their two or four or six leaves, all of their potential compressed into the smallest and most delicate flesh.

Here there is no maturity, no harvest, no logical conclusion, no socially redeeming value. Even the promise of their flowers is irrelevant. Only this time in this place matters.

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, seek the magical green of sprouts in the dark.

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