September 22, 2020

Autumnal equinox

The word equinox comes from two Latin words  - "aequus" which is "equal," and "nox" which is "night." Obviously, equal hours of night and day, light and dark, occur at the autumnal equinox. But it's more than that. 

The autumnal equinox is not an all day event. It occurs at the specific time the sun crosses the celestial equator. In the year 2020, that occurred at 9:31 AM, Eastern Daylight Time. The fall equinox brings the promise of the new season at the end of summer, the loss of humidity (thank heavens!), and cool evenings spent on the porch watching the leaves fall. 

Being it is the year 2020, I've heard plenty of quips that this fall is actually the fall of civilization, but no. It's autumn - the best time of the year. 

Did you know the actual date of the fall equinox can vary? It's usually on September 22, but due to the earth's orbit and the Gregorian calendar, it can change. It actually takes the earth 365.25 days to orbit, so the equinox is generally six hours later than the prior year. Then leap year happens and sets it back a day. A September 21 equinox hasn't occurred for several millennia, but it will happen in the year 2092. I think a lot of us will miss that one. A September 24 equinox hasn't happened since 1931, and won't happen again until 2303. So we're stuck with bouncing back and forth from September 22 and 23. 

This year on the manor, the maple leaves are turning right on time. Yesterday, I was walking out the lane and looked up to find the top leaves in one of the big maples had turned yellow and orange. Small beginnings herald what will become a storm of leaves. 

Already the evenings are too short. I got busy and did a last minute task, that being painting the ramp to the front porch. The sun had dipped when I started and it was actually chilly working without it. Thankfully, it was a quick job and I'm glad it's finished. I never run out of things to paint.

Even chilly, it was good to be outside in the fresh autumn air. It allowed me to bend over and dip the brush in the paint without sweating into the open paint can. Some things are simple pleasures even as they're annoying chores. 

It's a downward slide to winter from here, but it's a journey we'll savor. Autumn truly is a blessed season. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

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