Poor Will's Almanack: January 4 – 10, 2011

Jan 4, 2011

Poor Will’s Almanack for the second week of deep winter, the sixth week of the natural year.

"As human beings, we like meaning in our lives," writes Lisa Dalby, reflecting on the need for almanacs. "We like it so much we will come up with all kinds of ways to make sure it is found."

In the cold of Deep Winter, I look for all kinds of ways, returning to the thaws in my daybook of weather and events.

My entry for January 8, 1998: "After five days of weather in the 50s and 60s, I saw the first opossum of the year on the back road; heavy rains and the warmth probably brought him out. Worms had come up out of the ground, were lying on the sidewalk, the first time that I remember them so early in the year. I heard a blue jay this morning just after the crows."

On January 8, ten years later: "The last day of the thaw, highs in the lower 60s this morning. I heard a cardinal sing about 10:00; In the alley Don's day lilies were starting to come up, and a few peonies in our back yard showed their red tips. I walked the bedrock at the quarry, wind hard, rippling the shallow pools, flocks of geese feeding on the water, more flocks flying south overhead.

"At home in the garden, two lamium plants have pink blossoms. The koi in our pond rose for food in the warm, record-breaking afternoon. I worked around for a while in the yard, the sparrows quiet and aloof, no cardinals, the ground sodden, absorbing the sound of my axe."

Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the Third Week of Deep Winter. In the meantime, savor the winter thaws.