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Poor Will's Almanack: January 17 - 23, 2017

Mikael Wiman
Flickr Creative Commons

The Sun enters its sign of Aquarius on the 20th, bringing in the last days of deepest winter. Even though the mornings are still so dark, the days are more than a quarter hour longer than they were at Christmas time!

And under the frozen coverlet of deep winter, the natural year quickens. As the sun moves into Aquarius, crows start migration. The first flies of the year hatch in the sun. Nighttime excursions of skunks and opossums and raccoons, the prophetic calls of overwintering robins, the occasional passage of bluebirds, the mating of owls and the disappearance of autumn seeds all offer counterpoint to the subdued winter silence and chill.

Orion, winter’s most ominous constellation, shifts  into the western sky before dawn, losing its chilling power with each sunrise. The Tufted Titmouse Moon enters its weak final quarter on January 19, loosening the winter even more, promising a January thaw.  And on the 22nd, it reaches apogee, its least influential position, farthest from Earth

Such a gentle moon should be favorable for love, or for solving problems and for working with livestock. Students, teachers and parents may be happier, criminals less prone to crime than they were under the full of the moon.

And  S.A.D. Index, which measures the forces that contribute to seasonal affective disorders on a scale of 1 to 75 dips below 70 this week, promising some relief on those who suffer from the winter blues.

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, your lunar horoscope is favorable, live it up.

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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.