Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Equinox

Today is the autumn equinox (in the Northern hemisphere), the point of balance between midsummer and midwinter. Day and night are 12 hours long today, that's what "equinox" means (in fact it's more complicated than that because the sun is not a single point and the earth's orbit is not a perfect circle). But from now on the days in the Northern hemisphere get shorter and shorter, and the nights get longer. The growing season is rapidly coming to a close and winter is approaching.

I feel a sense of descent and closing. I feel connected to the seasons, although that hasn't always been true. At other times of my life I have felt very disconnected from them, for example when I was living in a city, and drove to work every day. House to car, car to work, work to car, car to house. Indoor shopping centres at the weekend. Pubs or cinemas in the evening. I didn't notice when the first blackberries ripened or when the swallows returned in spring. But last Friday morning a skein of geese flew overhead as I dropped the kids off at school. I first heard their loud calling, and I stopped to watch them as they passed.

8 comments:

Hedgewizard said...

Connected to the seasons? Ooh, watch it Mellie, they'll be talking about you...

Bill of Ballaugh said...

The over-riding concern here in Ballaugh for the last week is "Have the swallows gone yet?" Every time I meet a neighbour, as I walk along the bóithrin, the first comment, after the weather, is about the swallows and who, if anyone, has seen any today. How's that for keeping in touch with the seasons? (I've seen none since last Wednesday, but Hawlín Fowley saw two on Saturday)

Anonymous said...

"but from now on the days in the Northern hemisphere get shorter and shorter, and the nights get longer."

Huh! Surely the days have been getting shorter ever since the solstice?! Equinox is the middle of that slope, not when the slope changes direction.

Melanie Rimmer said...

You're quite correct, anonymous. The days have been getting shorter since the summer solstice. But my statement was also correct - the days will get shorter and the nights longer (as they have been doing since the solstice). From the equinox onwards the nights are longer than the days.

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