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Poor Will's Almanack: January 28 – February 3 , 2020

Eve Fraser-Corp
Flickr Creative Commons

Once the leaves are down in the fall, I avoid looking at winter. I am always looking for spring, for the moment at which all the best of the year still lies ahead.

Sometimes I think anticipation is better than fulfillment. Promises are better than what is promised. Hope is better than than what is hoped for. When dreams come true, they are over. Happily ever after is often better as a wish.

The fantasy of snowdrops can last indefinitely. The tangibe snowdrops not so much. It’s not that I hold back when the buds actually open; it’s just thatI feel their deepest truth in the remnants of my longing.

The early pussy willows break open just a little by this time of the year. Halfway open is better than all the way, better than their golden pollen.

The wetlands are quiet now, but that stillness is not barren. The emptiness is clean and pure. It is making the space without which there would be no whistles and warbles of the red-winged blackbirds that will arrive in a week or two.

In the days before the silence ends, the present is briefly more powerful than the past and the future. Only possibility is chaste. Something in the body, like something in the land itself, senses the uncorrupted core of creation from which everything else blossoms. It understands the ineffible, formless and wordless kernle of what is to be, that it is somehow more than being because it contains not only its beginning and its ending but its prelude and its meaning.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of Late Winter. In the meantime, go outside somewhere between winter and spring and feel what is coming.

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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.