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Poor Will's Almanack: May 9 - 15, 2017

Ib Aamaro
Flickr Creative Commons

Everything happens so quickly between the end of March and the middle of May. Bare trees fill out, and the brown, silent earth comes completely alive.

The feelings that move over me in the wake of all those changes range from exhilaration and joy to disappointment to a sense of being overwhelmed, to a sense of sadness.

I wonder if what I was really waiting for was spring or if I was caught up in a different kind of longing, an obsession with the idea of rebirth, thinking that spring was a promise not only of an easing of the weather but a promise of some greater fulfillment. Winter created a need for warmth that went far beyond the simple desire for rising temperatures and embraced an entire complex of needs. The greening of the world was to be the answer to all that was missing in my life.

And so to find that spring does indeed bring warmth and color can be disappointing because maybe it was really not those things that I was waiting for but something altogether different, something that I had not named or that I had called by the wrong name or that I had, in a long self-deception, transformed into spring, making the tilt of the earth into a potent but unfocused metaphysical longing.

In some ways, that confusion is welcome, like the confusion and the greed and the frustration of love. And sometimes it creates islands of peace, and sometimes it creates anguish, and happiness. And, I suppose, if spring is really like love, what could I expect?

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of late spring. In the meantime, be confused. It’s all right. That’s just the way spring is.

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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.