September Equinox

September Equinox
Summer Tomatoes

As I write this, it's hot!  Chicago is in the middle of a heat wave.  This is the 5th consecutive day of over 90 degrees at O'Hare. This is a record this late in the season.  It feels like July in September.

September 22 marked the autumn equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, or the spring equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.  Due to our tilted planet, the equinox marks the point at which the sun appears directly overhead at the equator. Day and night are about equal length. You can read more about the equinox, here.

The season is changing. "Who would know it's fall?" The trees know. The milkweeds and the butterflies know. Already, a rain of yellow leaves from the locust trees. This may also be due to dry conditions but the shorter days  signal the changing colors of the leaves.

Our ancestors paid more attention to these things. Fall was to them a season of ripening, and harvest.  Many pagans still celebrate the autumn equinox, and the Mabon harvest festival, today.  Even for those who don't celebrate, these warm days are ripening tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in backyard gardens, here.

The dog day cicadas are singing  more urgently now.  Do they cry for summer ending?

The other day, I found a cicada on the sidewalk. They are large and clumsy bugs, not built for flying. This one was done flying, all crying done, too. I couldn't just leave it lying there. I found a good place, among the tall autumn grasses  and stems of summer bee balm.

Meanwhile, it's the middle of hurricane season. In my last post, I wrote about Harvey, Irma and Jose. Since then, Tropical Storm Lee weakened and is strengthening into a hurricane.  Tropical Storm Maria became a  Category 1 hurricane, and intensified to a Category 5 in less then 15 hours, striking  the Virgin Islands, Dominica and Puerto Rico.  These green and tropical islands are devastated. There is no power, no clean water, and the people  are crying for help.  This is a humanitarian crisis.

They are crying for help in Mexico, after two major earthquakes. They are facing life and death issues, there, too.

Meanwhile, baseball is in its final games of the regular season.  And I'm thinking of Roberto Clemente. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the greatest baseball players ever.  He was from Puerto Rico, and died in a plane crash on a rescue mission after an earthquake in Nicaragua. You can read more about his extraordinary life, here.

Football  season has begun.  I think about the football players who are insulted for exercising their rights as Americans, making a statement for a better future and a less racist world.

All these things are connected, just as we are connected to each other and the natural world.  Crossing into autumn, now, the cries of the cicadas, the cries of the world.


You can read more about the 2017 hurricane season here.

You can read more about cicadas, here.

Is climate change changing fall? Read more about it here.



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  • The first couple of paragraphs summarize it. All I know is that the sun sets about about 6:55 p.m. and the trees got the message to start turning colors almost exactly on Sept. 15.
    Once having asked in Florida why the deciduous trees dropped leaves, the answer was the length of sunlight. However, grass usually doesn't turn brown this time of year.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for reading, Jack! Oh yes, that lawn's all turning brown on my side of town.

  • Poignant post with much to ponder.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thank you for reading, Kathy! Much appreciated.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    I agree!

  • Is there a Fort Equinox? Just wondering. Good job, WG.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Not a Ford Equinox. A competing company has one, though.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Good one, AW! Thanks for reading.

  • Beautifully done. To borrow Kathy's word above, I've enjoyed pondering September better since I read this.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thank you! And thanks so much for reading...

  • Great article. Nearly feels like we will have another heat wave this week--

  • In reply to Pleasant Street:

    Thanks for reading.Yes, summer for a day, maybe rain tomorrow...

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