Fall Harvest Moon
Today is the autumnal equinox. As the great wheel rolls on through the year, this is a day/night of balance, of night and day roughly equivalent. Here in the Rockies, on Mountain Time, the earth and sun are not, at the equator, tilted away or toward each other. The moment when this is true occurs at 2:02 p.m, MST. The day itself will be 12 hours and 9 minutes long. The 12 hours and 1 minute day doesn’t come until September 25th this year.
The notion of equinox though, equal day and night, reminds us that this astronomical event, sun and earth’s midpoint lining up, does mark a significant change. The light gradually increased from the vernal equinox to a maximum day on the summer solstice. Darkness gradually increases from September 25th to its maximum at the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, I prefer the six months of the year when darkness dominates. This period between autumnal and vernal equinoxes is my favorite half of the year. Here in the temperate latitudes-we’re 4 degrees north of the 35th latitude here in Conifer and temperate equals 35 – 55 degrees of latitude-this six months goes from the tail end of the growing season’s warmth to the slow release from winter’s cold that usually happens in late March.
Here in the mountains the streams have long ago drained off last winter’s snowfall; the aspen have turned golden. The cervids have begun their annual procreational dance. Sex is in the air. We have snow in the forecast for Monday and night time temperatures are in the good sleeping weather range for Kate and me. In Minnesota we could hear the Andover marching band practicing and here the high school football season is already well underway. Coats become an item of consideration when leaving the house.
It’s a time to consider the balances in your life. Has anything gotten out of whack that needs adjustment? Working too much? Seeing too little of family and friends? Or, too much? How about the diet of your choosing? Too much or too little exercise? Television? Social media? What other dialectics in your life might you examine?
Consider taking a cup of coffee (beverage of your choice) on one of these days with a just right temperature and going somewhere quiet. Investigate your life, probing for parts of it that may not be nurturing you right now. What are they? How can you make gradual, not sudden, changes that will help you become the person you already are? It may be that some of that work involves cutting something back or increasing something else, just like the temperate latitudes do with their light menu.
We can learn from the rhythm of day and night over the course of a year that each one, light and dark, nurtures different things, sometimes drastically different. Summer grows our food while Michaelmas, September 29th, is known by some as the springtime of the soul.
What will you learn, this day?