The Autumn Equinox of 2020
It is the Autumn Equinox of 2020, a year like no other in my life. There is no sound, nor sight o
f the event as yet, no light breaking the darkness, only a faint, far off din of those already on their way to the day. Their uninvited commotion travels on the cool air through my open window, a window that has be sealed shut for most of the month, holding back the toxic smoke from a world afire.
But this morning, an off shore breeze has swept away the acrid haze and the air is fresh, lifting my spirits as I breathe it in, wrapped in my comforter, warm and awaiting the exact moment to send out my prayers and praise onto a changed world.
Fall was once a time I savored, once before it became synonymous with fire season. It was a time of acorns, of ochre leaves drifting silently to the earth, of the celebration of the harvest and dramatically changing seasons. Now, in my world, it is a time of constant vigilance, of preparedness, and concern for the natural world and our civilized one. It is spent ready to evacuate, checking air quality and listening for electronic alerts warning of an outbreak of wildfire.
But just for a moment this morning, I will let down my guard and allow my heart to celebrate transition, as one season gently becomes the next with the rising sun’s promise of golden light. I will send out intentions for protection for the animals that share my existence in this wild place and ask for safety for my simple home.
This year, I celebrate Mabon, the ancient holiday that invites us to slow our pace, delight in the cool breeze and witness the long evening shadows. It is a time to celebrate the bounty, but also to let go, as the vibrancy of summer yields to the peace of autumn. A time when the earth and all her creatures focus on storing what they need for a long rest in the silent winter darkness. I look forward to a stillness that offers respite from the chaos of the recent months.
As the sun breaches the horizon, a mourning dove, ironically named considering he lost his mate a while ago, breaks the silence with his gentle call to her. It’s been months but he calls incessantly throughout his day, in hopes, I guess, that one day she might answer back. He roosts atop a power pole, the same place he shared with her, and watches over the valley, cooing softly as the world passes below. This morning his song seems even more forlorn, or is it my imagination, knowing he is moving along in the cycle of life without his companion?
Perhaps, it is nothing more than my anticipation of what is to come, based on what has been, that makes this pivotal moment so poignant. It is possible autumn could unfurl a warm and secure calling for rest, a time when the earth itself is allowed to retreat, as the plants wilt and collapse back to the soil, setting their burden of remaining fruit onto the earth to become once again part of the life giving richness. If I let go my worries and concerns and look to nature, I witness a release, a collective sigh that signals a letting go and a welcoming into the calm.
That is the message I will carry today, at this moment when the earth shifts and aligns for its long orbit away from the sun, rebirth is possible and as natural as the seasons, but only after a rest.