Today marks the autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere, one of two days per year where there is a balance between the light of day and the dark of night. After today, that balance will tip towards night, the hours of darkness outweighing the hours of light until reaching equality once again in March.
I take a deep comfort in this, in knowing that we are entering the six months of more night than day. I take comfort in the cycle of it, knowing that the darkness brings with it a time of deepening rest and reflection. By this point in the year, after the pace and growth and outwardness of the summer season, I feel so very ready for a quieting to begin. For the evenings to draw close earlier, when (if I can forego the temptation to stare at a screen, with its artificial stimulation) I can feel my body beginning to align with the rhythms of this season and the repose it asks for.
I crave slow mornings this time of year, sitting with steaming mug on the steps in the pre-dawn chill, melting into the fog that's so ubiquitous of Septembers here as cool night air meets the warmth of the rising sun. I crave root vegetables and chunks of nutty bread. I crave long runs in the woods and the crunching of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. I crave cider and pumpkins on porches and the first wafts of woodsmoke on the chilled evening air. I crave Jane Austen and golden candlelight and fresh, spicy, springy gingerbread. I crave home, whether that is a stick-and-stone proper house, or simply our little camper and the small ways we've made it our own.
Today is traditionally known as Mabon, and is celebrated as the second of the three harvest festivals. It is a time to reflect not only on the balance of dark and light (in season, in nature, within ourselves), but also a time to take special notice of the abundance in our lives. As Americans, we tend to save this gratitude for Thanksgiving, but I happily embrace any reminder to reflect with deep and genuine gratitude on the many, many blessings in my life. It is also a good time to notice what I am "reaping" that I perhaps didn't mean to "sow"...areas of my life where this is disquiet or conflict or jealousy or smallness...and to take immediate action to remedy where I have allowed pain or anguish or misunderstanding to flourish.
As the earth continues its cycle of dying back, of moving into the deep dormancy of winter, I can feel a primal and intuitive pull to align myself with that rhythm. To heed the necessity of allowing that which must die to die so that new life can burst forth in the spring. To allow ailing ideas or dreams or relationships to be released in order for space to be created for new ones to abound and to welcome that release with a genuine gratitude for all that those old ideas and dreams and relationships taught me and added to my life in their prime.
So I go forth this day with gratitude and release, with an acceptance and welcoming for the inward-turning nature of the darkness and for the season of rest and reflection that must happen in order for new life and creativity to grow with health and heartiness.
Happy Fall, y'all!!
I can't wait to share more of my recent trip to Greece with you guys next week, but in the meantime, here are a few quick favorites from my whirlwind trip!