Equinox; is that a cool looking word or what? I feel smarter just saying it.
You’ve heard the word before, but haven’t ever quite understood what it meant, right? For those of you in more seasonal climes, I envy you. Really. Where I live—three feet from Hell—we don’t get to see the slow brush of God’s hand across the landscape. Some dumbass, way back whenever, decided it might be nice to settle in the middle of a friggin’ desert, you know, just for fun, maybe have a few laughs and make a couple bucks by providing w waypoint between the West coast and the continental interior.
You know why this resevoir of dust and cactus is called Phoenix, don’t you . . . that’s right, it has to do with the legend of the Phoenix, the same one that rises from the ashes. How do you get ashes? By burning something, that’s how. If you’ve never felt that kind of heat envelope you, then go stand under a magnifying glass at about noonish, then you’ll kind of understand.
If you’ve never been here, don’t believe the hype. Stay where it’s green and you can actually feel what ‘autumn’ means. Now hold on . . . Lest you think it’s all sour grapes, you should know that Arizona entails much more than just Phoenix; the north country is actually quite beautiful and does heed natures call during this time of year—during the aforementioned equinox.
The equinox, put simply, is one of two times a year when the sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are of approximately equal length. Today, September 22nd, is that very day. As the days get shorter I won’t be joining the rest of you in breaking out the sweaters and jackets, but I will be in awe, as I am every year, of nature’s color palette.
The beginning of autumn is also the beginning of one of the best stretches of the year. The mere cooling of the weather is enough to make us think of the approaching holidays and, if nothing else, the lighter tone which separates this last quarter of the year so very distinctly from the rest. For many it means a time to either go to or welcome family and friends, to share gatherings and meals together. To remember fondly, and conversely, create fond remembrances. Speaking for myself, frankly, I’m not a huge ‘holiday’ person; I more thoroughly appreciate the essence of the holiday season, and of autumn itself. The greater number of us can’t help but be in a somewhat more pleasant frame of mind during this time of year.
In Arizona, we’re just happy that summer is damn near over.
Autumn, more familiarly known as ‘Fall’, has it’s own unique spell it casts. Everything in nature begins the process of gearing up for onset of Old Man Winter, including us. From baseball’s “Fall Classic” to the march to the Superbowl (or one of any number of college bowls) during football season, even sports fans brave cold temperatures to follow their teams—something else we associate with both fall and winter.
• We carve pumpkins and then turn them into pies.
• We endure the seemingly endless onslaught of ads for those • seeking public office.
• Some begin planning very early for the annual Thanksgiving feast.
• Some of us make the yearly pilgrimage to a Christmas tree lot, or maybe even pick one of our own while traipsing through the snow.
People speak of arising in the early hours of Thanksgiving to the scent of cooking turkey. The mere mention of the smell causes some to instantly recall the heady aroma, which itself triggers other memories. You could argue that any other time during the year may do that, but I’d wager the memories of autumn are far stronger.
These recollections, in some manner, center upon those things we individually find special or even endearing. More to the point, they bridge the precipice between our hearts and logical selves. Our better natures warmly bask in the results. We fervently hope for better things during this season, and we track them with the amazing mechanism of capturing and recall of memories. If I may so boldly make the reference, autumn is—perhaps more than any other time of year—the time for us all to warm ourselves over the ember between.
This year in particular also is something of a personal watershed for me. As of October my book, The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between, will have been in public release for six months; the timing was not planned, yet it seems almost auspiciously serendipitous. The spirit of the stories within favorably reflect the very essence of what I’ve tried to impart here about fall.
To that end, I’ve asked several folks to write a guest post for me about what defines love or hope for them—again, in the spirit of the season.
Over the next six days you’ll be hearing from these people whose blogs I’ve read for a while. Some have traveled with me during my previous book tour, four have read the book, one has recently ordered it, two have reviewed it; they all have my book in common, but that’s not why I asked them to guest post for me—I asked all of them because I hold each one in high regard, and have been genuinely blessed to have been put in their path. Some make me laugh, some make me think, but all are just honestly good people. I wanted to ask a whole slew of people, but time considerations (theirs and mine) meant I had to whittle the list down to single digits. I will also be giving away some copies of my book to those who may come from these other blogs and leave comments on each of the posts.
As for my own definition, I can safely say that it’s documented within my short stories. In short, hope and love are many different things to each of us, but it is how we distill them that resonates within like a ripple upon still water.
May this season bring many better things, and continued blessings for each of us. Please join us all this week as we celebrate the human need to balance the light and dark, the gossamer bond we share with nature as our own autumnal equinox.