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Friday Musings: Back to Black

Friday Musings: Back to Black

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, yesterday brought the autumnal equinox, or the beginning of the fall season. The literal translation of the word equinox comes from the Latin aequi, which means equal, and nox, which means night. During the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, there are as many hours of light as there are of darkness. One of the great gifts of the summer season is the how long the days feel, despite the fact that they actually begin shortening right after the summer solstice in the third week in June. That never seems to register with us, or if it does, we pretend that it doesn’t matter. We begin mourning the shortening days right around now, at the calendar start of fall, when we perceive that it’s finally time to let go of the light. And yet, there is some cause for celebration as well. We look forward to cooler temperatures that call for boots and sweaters. We anticipate the leaves changing in their spectacular display, and we’re ready for the first smell of woodsmoke in the air. We try not to think about the darkness of the months ahead, but we feel a certain heaviness coming for us, and maybe something else that’s akin to fear. It’s possible that some of this stems from our collective remembrance of earlier times when we had no electricity, heat, or grocery stores, and the darkness and cold that arrived with fall were reasons to be afraid indeed. Winter was just around the corner, and although it’s hard to imagine from our comfortable place in this modern world of warmth, light, and Netflix, survival wasn’t always guaranteed. In any case, the rhythm of this seasonal change still resonates deep inside us, and the official turn from summer to fall can definitely invoke a sense of sadness or apprehension.

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