Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Ramble - Autumn

This week's word comes to us through the Middle English autumpne and the Old French autompne, thence the Latin autumnus, and the Latin likely derives from even older Etruscan forms.  The first part of autumnus (autu) probably comes from the Etruscan autu, related to avil, or year. The second part of autumnus (mnus) comes from menos meaning loss, minus, or passing. There we have it. At the end of our etymological adventures is the burnished but wistful thought that another year is ebbing, another circling in what I like to call simply, "the Great Round," the natural cycle of our existence.

September is about harvest and abundance, but it is about balance too. The Autumn Equinox on September 21 is one of the two times in the  year when day and night are balanced in length, the other time being the Vernal Equinox on March 21. On that day, (also called known as Mabon or "Harvest Home"), the sun seems to pass over the equator on a journey southward, moving steadily away from us.  Things are actually the other way around of course, and it is the earth and her unruly children who are in motion. Between the Midsummer Solstice and the Winter Solstice, our planet's northern hemisphere tilts away from the radiant star at the center of its galaxy.

This week, early evening skies are lit by a waxing moon, and the hours before sunrise are without moonlight.  The magnificent constellations of winter are starting to appear, and the dome of night is a veritable treasure trove of deep sky wonders, a dazzling gift for ardent stargazey types like me. Beau and I stood in the garden this morning long before sunrise and watched Orion climb into the southeastern sky, Aldebaran high above the giant's right shoulder, Sirius to the east and dancing just above the horizon. A tapestry of stars covered the sky from here to there, and when the sun rose, the stars vanished and every roof in the village was sewn with sequins of dew. With mornings like this, can one feel anything except rich as Croesus and jubilant in spirit?

On early walks, falling leaves drift around our ankles and make a fine rustling music.  Earthbound foliage on the trail is going transparent and turning into stained glass in splendid buttery colors.  We pause to look at all the wonders around our feet, and it's a wonder we ever get anywhere at all. When I stop to look at a leaf in our path, Beau looks up at me curiously. I start to tell him that I am looking for the perfect leaf, then stop and start the sentence over again.  Every single leaf is perfect, just as it is.