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Poor Will's Almanack: July 17 - 23, 2018

Jim Mullhaupt
Flickr Creative Commons

The Sun completes its residence in Cancer this week and enters the Late Summer sign of Leo on July 23, having moved about an eighth of the way toward autumn equinox.

The decline of the Sun into Leo always brings a visible change to the landscape, and that change can influence attitudes and behavior.

The day's length has only shortened by half an hour since solstice, but the growing night influences hormone levels in many mammals (including humans), and when the day falls below fourteen hours in the first week of August, sheep and goats enter estrus, a sign that the position of the Sun in the sky has triggered a major shift in the direction of the tide of the year.

With the Sun descending toward autumn equinox in Leo, acorns and buckeyes reach full size. Early locust leaves yellow in the heat, and the first black walnuts fall to the ground.  Seed pods form on the trumpet creepers. Catalpa beans are full and long.

The sign of Leo quiets the sunrise; the best of the early morning bird chorus is over now for the year.  But Leo makes up for birds with insects. Cicadas chant full force. Katydids call out after dark, and crickets intensify their song, telling of Late Summer ahead.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will's Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of Deep Summer. In the meantime, listen to the crickets and katydids tell about the Sun's arrival of Leo right here on Earth. 

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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.