The Two Equinoxes of each year are reminders of our precarious place in the Universe. More than the two solstices, Equinoxes remind us of balance. The word, equinox, has its roots in the ancient Latin word “aequus” for “equal”. In turn, Equinox is related to the Earth’s equator. Equator is derived from the ancient Latin word “aequare” which means “to make equal”. From our standpoint on this planet, Equinox is when the Sun appears to be directly over the equator.
Tonight, at 8:54 PM Central Daylight Savings Time, will be exact equinox for 2018. If you live in a different time zone, it will appear at a different place on your clocks. In places south of the equator, equinox will signal the beginning of spring and in places north of the equator this will be the beginning of autumn.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are gearing up for weather that will be less radical regarding heat and storminess. Autumn is known for its richness and mellowness. This is beautifully expressed in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Autumn Fires”
“In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
the grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall! ”
The heat of Summer may or may not have its last hurrah with an “Indian Summer” but Mother Nature’s “thermostat” is being dialed back regardless of our wishes. For the most part, our lives and responsibilities shift from the outdoors to the indoors. One thing I’m happy about, is that the yard does not require frequent mowing in the fall. Of course, there will be some leaf raking, but that will only take place a couple of times before the snows of winter arrive.
In the Nebraska farm country, large harvest machines will be in the fields day and night bringing in crops like corn and soybeans. Tall grasses will be mowed a final time and bundled into hay bales and stacks for the benefit of livestock. This will be accomplished in a race to avoid both the rains of autumn and the killing frosts later on.
Life of all types seems more precious with poignant endings of life cycles. The plants slow their metabolism, songbirds migrate away, and insects die off.
“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.” —
Edwin Way Teale
Sports fans notice a shift in games. Soon, Major League Baseball will close its year with the World Series. Meantime American and Canadian football teams have already been playing the early parts of their seasons. Basketball teams are still in training. Yet it is baseball that has the longest season as it stretches from March into October. This fact makes it the three-season outdoor sport.
Plenty of us enjoy autumn, because it is the beginning of the time to dress up in nicer clothing. While the light, breezy shorts and polo shirts of spring and summer are pleasant enough, sweaters and jackets have real pizazz. My favorite clothes are blue jeans and sweatshirts. Sweatshirts really rock in the fall. Fall and winter clothing is the most rugged of all.
This is the beginning of those reflective sometimes melancholy days that give us cause to further appreciate the joyful days of summer and winter. Spring and autumn equinoxes live up to their names that mean equal.
I hope you have a well-balanced and harmonious autumn.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this passage from the late filmmaker Steve Sabol: “The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head. The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.”