The Autumnal Equinox is upon us: The time of year when day and night are roughly equal (Latin aequus and nox, or “equal night”), and the days grow dramatically shorter. The sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west as it appears to cross the celestial equator, heading south. Light disappears sooner from the sky, and it’s time to prepare for winter.
Enjoying our garden crops (however diminished by drought) hardly seems appropriate, considering how many people have lost their lives and homes in Lake County’s Valley Fire – one of the worst in California history. Although the land and human and animal residents have been devastated, it’s heartening to see so many rush forward to offer help. If you’re so inclined, Sonoma County has a central list of resources on how to help.
In the spirit of sharing, and of making preparations to start anew, many cultural traditions throughout the world observe this time of year as one that honors and revolves around the harvest: the United States and Western Europe, Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia. Expanding on an earlier piece about food preservation:
Using the new solar drying rack B. and I made out of scrap wood, we slice cherry tomatoes, soaking them in olive oil and our rosemary. B. slices onions and cucumbers for pickles, and I grate beets and slice cabbage for sauerkraut – both will be enjoyed into next year. Sharing what bounty we have – as much or as little as it may be, is part of what I love about this season. As the Wheel of the Year turns, the sun rises later and night drops sooner, and the harvest moon is the biggest in the sky, I hope all are safe and well this fall. Share your traditions of honoring the harvest!