Wednesday, September 21, 2005

locking, unlocking, and the equality of day and night

Ah the equinox!  I discovered last year that from my bedroom porch, the sun rises directly over my stone birdbath on the morning of the equinox… a kind of personal Stonehenge. In spring it promises longer days than nights.  In fall it promises relief from summer heat and the colors of fall not far behind.  It is also the day that fall begins and is supposed to last until December 21.  Now that is really pretty crazy when you think of it.  

I believe it was Kurt Vonnegut who proposed 6 seasons instead of four, and I find his logic quite compelling.  Here is the idea.  May and June are spring.  July and August are summer.  September and October are autumn.  Now here’s the change.  November and December would become the season called “locking.”  Locking is what the outdoor world goes through to get ready for winter which comes in January and February.  Then March and April become the season of “unlocking” when the buds start to come out and unlock from winter.  

One of the wonderful signs of fall here is how the geese seem to awake with the sunrise and set off on their morning flight.  I am still in awe of living in a place where the world is quiet enough that I can hear the whistle of wings when they fly overhead.

Now here’s another one of those existential questions that really isn’t so existential because it CAN be documented.  When do the cicadas stop chirping in the evening?  Is it the first frost, the first hard frost?  I guess because I close the house up when it gets cold, I don’t listen for their absence.  In the spring we mark the advent of spring with the sound of the pinkletinks.  It gets reported in the paper (like the first snowdrops usually in Tom Hodgson’s yard), but nobody ever reports to the paper that they stopped hearing the cicadas.

I see that there are four doves on the lip of my birdbath where there is precious little water in which to bathe.  I shall go and tend to them.

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