I’m always amazed at how quickly the days seem to grow shorter at this time of year. We have been losing daylight each day since June and now up to about three minutes a day. Can’t help but notice it’s really dark when we awake and dusk comes noticeably earlier. Fall seems to have arrived at our neck of the woods. Color is beginning to appear in leaves, stalks of corn stand brown and dry in the fields, pots of mums adorn doorsteps, morning dew lies heavy on the grass and all but six female hummingbirds have begun their southward migration. From this day forth until the Winter Solstice in December, days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop.
Tomorrow, Sept. 23, marks the traditional first day of fall with the arrival of the Autumn Equinox in our northern hemisphere. This is the day when the sun crosses the equator southward and the length of daylight and night are fairly close to being equal. At the North Pole, this marks the arrival of six month of darkness and at the South Pole, the sun will reappear after six month of darkness.
The sun will rise over the horizon at different times for different observers depending on location but I’m walking to the end of the pier around 5:00 a.m. EDT to catch the sun’s first rays at 5:05 a.m. as they bend over the horizon. I will reflect on the end of a growing season and give silent thanks for success in all the garden, both edible and ornamental. Of course, thoughts must turn toward those trees on clearance at the nursery and the purchase of some glorious daffodil bulbs I’ve admired at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.
The equinox is also the day for a little fun. Because of equal gravitational force, it’s thought one can be successful at balancing an egg on end. You can certainly try, however, scientists say that gravity is not noticeably affected by the equinox. Therefore balancing an egg in the morning will be just as tedious as any other day of the year. Rats! I’ve participated in this tradition since I was age 10, so I’ll certainly have my eggs lined up tomorrow.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester