Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

This morning I wished the facebook universe a "happy fall equinox!" and promptly discovered that many people don't know what that is.

Well then, let me enlighten you on its interestingness.

yes, I have been known to put a "ness" on the end of random words and thereby make up new ones. Get over it.

So we all know that days in the summer are longer
- judging by daylight - and days in the winter are shorter. I remember wondering why in the heck, when it was cold outside, Mom came home so LATE from work when I was little...yeah, it wasn't any later than normal, it was just that in Virginia winters, the sky darkened at like 5:15pm. Not cool for a 7-year-old.

Anyway.

The equinoxes, two each year of course (one for fall, one for spring) are the days on which the amount of daylight and the amount of darkness are the same. They're the balancing points. Since today is the fall equinox, starting tomorrow the nights will now last longer than the days, until the spring equinox (which falls in March, I believe).
In ancient times, when people's spirituality was based on things like the harvest and the sun and its warmth, today held great significance, as it stood for the end of the light's reign for the year. Lots of stuff about winter myths, withdrawing for the cold and dark season, etc. There were various stories in many diverse cultures that explained this (Demeter, the Greek goddess comes to mind), but either way you have the general idea.

Although most of us don't still hold to that sort of thinking, I still like to take time on the equinoxes to feel the turning of the year. The fact that the nights will now be longer does hold significance for me; it will certainly affect my way of life - where I go, what I do, when I get sleepy....

I also think my life is sweeter and holds more meaning when I keep myself in tune with what's happening in nature. It is a restorative practice for me to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the winter, which is lovely as a time of quiet, and rest, and hot chocolate, and of course the holidays (yay!) - not to mention that because of the move (this weekend, whoa), I will actually have a cold winter, not to mention a white Christmas (double yay!), which makes the equinox all the more poignant for me this year.

So maybe try to jump on the equinox bandwagon - take a moment today to reflect on the year, the spring and summer, and now the upcoming Autumn. How was it? What did you like? What did you not like so much? How can you make this the best autumn and winter possible? For me, it'll include enjoying every drop of this crazy road trip and all of its accoutrements, and to make sure that I take full advantage of the freedom and the potential to reconnect that all of this time spent with loved ones will bring. Who knows the next time that I'll get to see everyone this much, maybe never... So make some goals! Remember where you are! And happy autumnal equinox! (now you know what that means)

Today's whiteboard quote:
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."
~Elbert Hubbard

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