Usually, an equinox passes almost unnoticed, with little or no accompanying weather change; it’s just a man-made designation, signifying equal hours of light and darkness on a given day. It’s an official watershed marking the slow slide into cold weather, but it’s nothing to particularly note in and of itself, as a rule, unless one celebrates the pagan holiday of Mabon, one of the harvest festivals.
Yesterday’s equinox (September, 22, 2021) was a departure from the usual non-event, however. The day before, the temperature had been in the upper 80s, with bright sun and relatively high humidity. The switch was flipped overnight, with the weather becoming too cool, rainy, and windy for all the doors and windows to be open by yesterday morning. The entire day was heavily overcast, and I gleefully lit pumpkin caramel drizzle candles and pulled the afghan from the back of the couch to cover my knees. I ventured out during a lull in the downpour to change our garden flag from the one showing flowers and butterflies to the one with colored leaves and pumpkins, then hung our “Autumn Greetings” sign by the door. I’m diligent about seasonal decorations! The ceramic and the plush cloth pumpkins now ornament the coffee table, with a yellow, orange, and red leaf garland swagging the mantel. As I’ve said before, fall is my favorite season, by a landslide
So, for once, fall has come in actuality, not just on the almanac charts. Today was even cooler than yesterday, with temps in the 50s. It’s still very cloudy, although drier than yesterday. To me, it’s perfect weather; I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t mind having to put on a windbreaker to go out and retrieve the trash toter from the bottom of the driveway, where it temporarily resides for emptying on trash day. Our big dogs have moved from the bare floor to their warm beds, in keeping with the dissipation of warmth in the house. I made a pot of chili to take with us on our camping vacation, which kicks off tomorrow. Hearty food will be welcome for a few dinners next week, as the heat is not supposed to return in the ten days covered by the forecast. Perhaps we’ll have true seasonal temperatures, instead of contending with mid-80s on the thermometer for another month. On our wedding day, 27 years ago tomorrow, it was 85 degrees, not making for comfort in long-sleeved dresses and suits during our outdoor ceremony.
Fall means I’m able to exhale, so to speak. I have what I call reverse SAD, meaning that sun glare and heat just make me want to hide in a dark, cool room. Which is rather antisocial behavior during the months that are supposed to be filled with picnics, barbecues, and generally being out and about, having adventures and getting things done. When the cool, cloudy days of October in northeast Ohio set in, I’m energized and ready to go. Many of my friends are dreading the snow and cold, but I relish the quietness and peace, free of near-obligatory busy-ness. I can’t wait for the evenings when a campfire feels good and the blankets come out of the closet. We can take the dogs for walkies and I know I won’t be ready to turn around before we’ve gone fifty feet.
Fall has a lot going for it besides bearable temperatures. Aside from presaging the annual feast of colors and scents, the autumnal equinox, to me, signals comfort and release; soft, fuzzy clothes; warm slippers; mulled cider; meals featuring root vegetables instead of lettuce; the countdown to Halloween, my favorite holiday; and being cozy—not sweaty—when I snuggle with the fur-kids. But that touch of frost in the air quietly delights me; I’m the only person I know who wants to eventually move north to Maine or the Maritimes, not Florida or Arizona, but that’s fine: maybe it’ll be less crowded up there!