Today is the Equinox, the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. The September Equinox is believed to be a time of balance when day and night are equal. In Greek mythology, autumn begins as goddess of the harvest Persephone returns to the underworld to live with her husband Hades. Many pagans observe Mabon as one of eight Sabbats based on the sun’s cycles, time to pay homage to the impending dark while giving thanks to the light. As we prepare for enjoying the bounty of harvest, we approach the end of the year. The pagan or pre-Christian calendar celebrates the new year at the end of October, on Samhain (better known as Halloween).
In San Francisco, though, we’ve hardly had a summer at all. Like last year, it’s been rainy well into June, and colder and foggier than usual. But just this week, summer seems to have arrived in full force. Temperatures have soared into the 80s and even 90s, the sun bright from the morning on. So here’s to celebrating our too-short summer: plump wild blackberries popping in my mouth, the juice of stone fruits like nectary peaches dripping down B.’s chin, the joy of throwing oneself into an ice-cold stream. Days like this make you feel like a kid again, almost like time can be stopped. But then in the newspaper, ads for pumpkin beer make me want to cry. Today there’s a chill wind in the balmy air. With time’s passing comes loss in different forms, and of course I think of my mother.
Nothing can stop the change of seasons, or time’s passage. But during periods of change and uncertainty, sinking hands into the dark, rich earth and planting crops like arugula, chard, and spinach equals hope for the future.