On September 22, at 10:29 P.M. EDT. Autumn began. I like Autumn and Winter best, followed by Spring. Summer is okay, but I get even more cranky than usual when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, and with global warming a reality, future summers will sizzle.
Where we are in the circle of the year depends on where we stand, just as how we will vote does. Since we live in the northern hemisphere it seems logical to leap from the middle of Michigan to a point “above” the center of our orbit. You may recall the solar clock with the Winter Solstice at 12 o’clock, the Vernal Equinox at 9 o’clock, the Summer Solstice at 6 o’clock, and the Autumnal Equinox at 3 o’clock. We are just past 3, moving counterclockwise at about 67 thousand miles per hour.
On the day of the equinox the Sun shines directly on the equator, where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 of night. Where we live day and night are not exactly equal but no one notices. The daylight hours become shorter and will continue to do so until the first day of Winter, December 21.
In ancient times, the Autumn Equinox brought a variety of pagan festivals. The Welsh celebrated the birth of Mabon, the son of Mordon, the goddess of the Earth. Mabon simply means Son. His full name was Mabon ap Mordon, son of the goddess of the Earth.
“The only myth we have about Mabon says that within minutes of his birth, he was stolen from between his mother’s side and the wall next to which she lay. By whom, is not known. He was imprisoned in a castle, on an island in a lake, until his uncle, King Arthur, obeying a prophecy, freed him to participate in the adventure called The Wooing of Olwen.” (See Dana Corby, www.widdershins.org.)
Many cities and areas have Fall Festivals, particularly in places like Michigan, where leaves turn to gold, yellow, scarlet, russet, burnt umber, and raw sienna. We here in the middle of the mitten don’t have to travel very far for great color tours. We see the leaves by light from the sun, and it took about eight minutes for each photon from the sun to reflect off the leaves into our eyes.
Another wonderful aspect of Fall is the harvest. For thousands of years farmers have gathered crops to last the long Winter ahead. Our Farmers’ Market features pumpkins, and hardy squashes such as acorn, butternut, blue Hokkaido, delicata, kabocha, spaghetti, turban, and my favorite, Hubbard. Fall apples, such as honey crisp, are also available. Other vegetables that store well include potatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi, and onions. To celebrate the harvest families often gather to share a wonderful meal and enjoy each other’s company.
Enjoy the onset of the beautiful mid Michigan Autumn as she unfolds her wonders. Crisp, fresh air, the glory of the trees preparing themselves for Winter, glittering frost on the lawn, roof and every twig, the freshness of the harvest, good friends, and peaceful memories are yours for the taking.