Poor Will's Almanack: July 12 - 18, 2011

Jul 12, 2011

Poor Will's Almanack for the fourth week of middle summer.

This week, the earth is wavering,
balancing at its midyear pause,
Vacillating between the high, excited birdsong
of spring and early summer
and the rhythmic, rasping chanting
of late summer's katydids and crickets
and I wait in this quiet, expectant space,
the third week of July,
the one hundred ninety third day of the year,
as the great pull of the sun reaches its limit,
sways on the edge of the sky,
then breaks apart among all the spent petals of the garden,
folds into the darkening foliage of middle summer
and the decaying strata of May and June.
I look for cheer, for sense and meaning, in old details,
And I list the history of events around me,
coming to terms with loss in its teaching:
My favorites have been bloodroot, hepatica, red quince, mock orange, strawberries, raspberries,
iris, honeysuckle, privet…
When I turn the listing upside down,
Where the past is still to come,
My nostalgia goes away:
The cycles are bound together,
closed and tight, says the history of the flowers and the berries;
whatever is taken comes back again;
nothing leaves the circle or is left behind.

Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the fifth week of middle summer. In the meantime, get up early to listen to the growing silence of the morning as the robins and cardinals end their summer songs.