Yesterday while the birthday revelers were “reveling” and the Race for the Cure racers were “racing”…autumn crept in quietly with little or no fanfare. But oh…what a welcoming sight it is for us lowcountry natives who have endured a long, hot, humid summer; a summer that appears unwilling to leave the spotlight for another season to enter. Summer doesn’t go easily in these parts.
The beautiful photo of fall leaves in the title photograph is just a figment of our imaginations in the lowcountry. It will still be weeks before fall comes to stay. (Photo by Michael Melford)
National Geographic Magazine featured the famous photographer, Michael Melford’s fall photos in its Autumn issue since this season’s photos are his favorites. In fact he became a photographer after taking a photo of a beautiful maple 40 years ago. (Here is an excerpt from National Geographic)
“There is an interlude when the languid days of summer blend into the crisp days of fall. The trees still have their leaves and the ground is still green but everything is in a state of quiet change. Autumn was when National Geographic photographer Michael Melford took a picture of a fiery orange maple tree 40 years ago and decided to become a photographer, and it remains his favorite time of year to shoot.”
The Fall Equinox is rich in legends and fascinating facts….Let me share a few with you.
Sunrise, Sunset: During the autumnal equinox, sunrise and sunset are separated by exactly 12 hours all over the world. In fact, “equinox” is from the Latin word “equinoxium,” which means equality between night and day.
Changes in the Animal World: Animals experience biological changes with the autumnal equinox. The decrease in the amount of daylight is a subtle cue to animals in the Northern Hemisphere to begin preparing for the cold weather by taking in more food, migrating, or finding a place to hibernate.
Auroras: The arrival of the autumnal equinox means we will enjoy longer nights and cool, comfortable temperatures. This makes it one of the best times to observe the Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis.
A Full Moon: At the time of the autumnal equinox, we get to see a full, glowing moon. It is sometimes called the Harvest Moon. The moon is visible at an earlier time in the evening, which gives farmers more light to tend to their crops.
Celebrations at Home: Some American families celebrate the autumnal equinox by reestablishing a sense of balance in their own lives. Some start eating a balanced diet including fall vegetables such as artichokes, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, garlic, and kale. Other families set aside time for meditation to regain balance in their thinking and in the way they live.
Lastly…the origin of the corn husk doll evolved from the old English tradition of celebrating the harvest season.
British history traces the origin of the annual harvest festival back to ” an ancient belief in the corn spirit or corn mother.” In some regions the farmers believed that a spirit resided in the last sheaf of grain to be harvested.
To chase out the spirit, they beat the grain to the ground. Elsewhere they wove some blades of the cereal into a “corn dolly” that they kept safe for “luck” until seed-sowing the following year. Then they plowed the ears of grain back into the soil in hopes that this would bless the new crop.
- Church bells could be heard on each day of the harvest.
- A “Corn Dolly“was made from the last sheaf of corn harvested. The corn dolly often had a place of honor at the banquet table, and was kept until the following spring.
- The horse, bringing the last cart load, was decorated with garlands of flowers and colorful ribbons.
- A magnificent Harvest feast was held at the farmer’s house and games played to celebrate the end of the harvest.
So until tomorrow….I love this advice from John O’Donohue
“Each day is a secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder. The sacred duty of being an individual is to gradually learn how to live so as to awaken the eternal within you.”
The only thing I would add to O’Donohue’s “secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder” is to “harvest” new stories with each passing day!
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh