Today marks something close to the mid-way point between the solstice and equinox. It’s about six weeks to the official start of autumn. The sun still rises early, but we’ve noticed darkness now falls earlier each evening; by 8:30 in the evening the stars are out.
Looking up last night, we noted the moon seemed just past full. In the fields berries and early apples are ripe, and the tall meadows have changed from green to rich ocher and sienna. Evenings are noticeably cooler, this week they have the fall-like quality that so often heralds the end of summer here in the north country.
We were up early this morning, and soon were out the door. We didn’t have any specific place to go, just outside, into the natural world. Eventually, we found our way to an old field in a wildlife reserve, newly burned to maintain habitat.
We humans are increasing urban dwellers, less and less directly dependent on the tides of light that drive the natural world . This was less true a generation or two ago. While growing up I spent part of each summer on the family farm. Each day we worked in whatever weather and light was granted us. Come the second week of August the days were noticeably shorter; often evenings were cooler, festooned with fireflies. With luck, the second haying was in and the first corn steamed on the table. School, and autumn, were imminent, and we knew it.
Today turned out lovely. We walked through fields and glades, enjoying the blue skies, bright sunlight, and deep shade. We passed others, young and old, a few foraging for wild edibles. We chatted as we passed, then later, spoke again when we met by chance at the snack bar. I was reminded of neighborly moments on the farm, sharing labor with the farm families and hands nearby. Always the large chores, like haying, were welcome opportunities to share gossip, labor, food, and sometimes, romance.
On the farm we paid close attention to the shifting light of the seasons. Planting, weeding, and harvesting were governed by the light, the great weathers, and the moon. We looked up, scanning the sky, at the beginning of the day, after lunch, and before bed. Weather lore flowed freely across the table at most meals. Usually, my Native grandmother, the most knowledgeable of the adults, had the last word.
Although we are now urban dwellers, we keep a garden, and head out into the country as often as possible. We watch the changing moon, weathers, and seasons. In doing so, we feel close to those who have passed before us, the farmers, hunters, and gatherers who created the traditions we live by. I am grateful to them for their guidance and presence.
We are also reminded that we are living organisms, our fates tied closely to that of the natural world. We living ones are in this together, we, the seasons of light and darkness, the weathers, and the pulsing web of All-That-Is. It is, indeed, good to acknowledge the deep and abiding Mystery of our being, and our Interbeing.