Please accept my belated wishes for a Happy Autumnal Equinox – which was officially on September 23rd. Thanks to the vagaries of the e-publishing world we’re not meeting until now, but I’m sending greetings just the same. I’m wondering if you think it feels like autumn yet? I’m not quite there yet. To me it isn’t fall until there is some frost on the pumpkin, or at the very least my windshield.

Still, I’m anxious for it to begin. Today was one of those days where it felt like the seasons were on a pivot. Morning was stormy and warm (or wormy and starm, if you like) but by mid-day the temps were dropping and the sun was reclaiming the blue sky. I’ve gone on record that I’m rooting for cooler days, so I’m looking for leaves to change and other markers for the new season. There were a lot of people on Lake Street today: kids horsing around, a couple of cops walking the beat keeping an eye on things. There’s a lot of hub-bub around here, but I wonder if anyone notices the labyrinth in the church yard?

If living to age fifty has taught me anything about myself it is that I find myself returning again and again to the things that interest me. I won’t bore you with all the examples I can come up with but a partial list would include fishing, chess, birds, and astronomy. Maybe that’s why the symbolism of the labyrinth has some appeal to me. Life is a path to be traveled with beginnings, middles, and ends – and it’s not always clear which one is which.

So, the Equinox is a sort of hinge that the seasons turn on. Today the sunlight hinged on the noon hour – a cloudy morning and a sunny evening. There’s this great circle we travel, hurtling through the cosmos on the surface of a grand sphere. Some days it feels new, other days it seems old and familiar.

The first twinge of yellow in the maples, the movements of geese and cranes, the sight of the Pleiades before sunrise are old, old signs of the season. But to me they also seem new, like old friends returned for the holidays – or at least passing through as they travel the circuits they’re bound to.


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Dave Coulter

I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...

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