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Poor Will's Almanack: January 19 - 25, 2021

My daybooks for the third and fourth weeks of January, record snow and cold but also thaws and warmth.

Details of my backyard history show this time to be as porous with change as it is dense with darkness and Arctic power.

Year after year, openings in the seemingly monolithic wall of winter accumulate to soften the texture and body of the month.

The dendrites of those spaces make cracks that allow in light and color and sound and movement.

The events of this process are small and simple:

The gathering of geese in advance of mating; wanderings of skunks and opossums at night, overwintering robins and bluebirds in the day; the occasional songs of the titmouse, the chatter of the nuthatch; the frequent arrival of starlings in town; the increasing frequency of mourning dove and cardinal mating calls; the first blossoming of aconites and snowdrops and snow crocuses…..

All of these events do not always happen this week in the same year, but as years accumulate, their radii and precedent pierce the rings of temporal space to offer promise.

Perhaps best of all, their collective story reveals a simple and happy truth, that the dimensions of passage are not hidden, that they have been here all along, and that they can appear and transform the meaning of our world in the blinking of an eye.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Winter. In the meantime, keep watching: the signs of Aquarius are small but everywhere.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

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.