Autumn Equinox

Often, it still feels like summer at this time of year, but I feel autumn has truly arrived now. This morning I walked a path I haven’t walked for a week or more to find the sun was that much lower than it had been and I was constantly having to shade my eyes. It’s all about colours, now. Colours and the cooling of the world. Russet. Browns. Fading drab greens. Yellows and orange. Autumn can be beautiful, although it can also be dull and dreary and occasionally fierce. But mornings often arrive with an added sparkle, with heavy dews on cobwebs and leaves glinting in the low sun, hedgerows of thistledown, rosehips, and hawthorn. There is usually a freshness in the air, especially in the mornings, which has been absent for most of the summer, that invariably lifts my spirits.

I like summer, of course I do, but the arrival of autumn reminds me in some ways of the arrival of spring. In spring we have the stirring of life after a long period of hibernation, whereas the beginning of autumn always feels to me like the start of a new, second, outburst of life. Many plants have a sudden growth spurt, fruits and nuts and berries swell and glow and are plundered by birds and beasts. It is still warm, warm enough to bask in the sun and to feel hot walking up even quite gentle hills.

The Equinox occurs on Friday (at 2.03am in the UK, to be precise) and after this the hours of darkness outnumber the hours of daylight until the end of next March (counting dusk and pre-dawn as night time). After this, the year always feels to me quite different, even if the weather from the one day to the next is much the same. I can already feel myself slipping into a different place; the logs for the burner have arrived and have been stacked ready for use. The apples have been picked, shortly to be wrapped and stored away. Much in the garden is in the process of being cut back for winter. When the days are short and the nights are long, there will be many books to read, lots of music to listen to, a few beers to drink, and many long conversations to be had.

But also many long walks as well, I hope. I love winter too.

26 thoughts on “Autumn Equinox

  1. Autumn is the best season, Mick, at least where I live. Summers are too extreme, winters are bleak, spring can’t make up its mind. I always feel my energy level rising in autumn. Hope yours is filled with joy, inspiration, and good conversation.

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  2. It was a hot muggy summer here, Mick, like Satan’s armpit for weeks at a stretch. I’ve always loved autumn but never so glad to see it as this year. We’re just coming up on apple season and looking forward to that too, even the prospect of the annual chemical warfare attack by the Pumpkin Spice Brigade can’t bring me down. Cheers from the northern U.S.

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  3. Those of us on the Gulf coast were looking forward to the equinox as the end of summer and the end of the hurricane threat: until about ten hours ago. Now, there’s a little tropical critter that’s in the process of forming, and we may or may not have a hurricane in our laps after all. It’s hard to say where it will land, but it’s put a bit of a pall on the turning of the season. Still — it’s almost October, and if this newest storm spares us, then we ought to be in the clear.

    I love autumn and spring both, because they’re times of change. The changes are different, but they’re equally delightful. We’ll see what happens!

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  4. How interesting all this seems to someone from the tropics! 🙂 All our days seem almost alike by comparison. Of course there is the rainy season which covers everything in a lovely green. A lovely read, Mick.

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  5. Hi Mick, I have read elsewhere that autumn has arrived quickly in the UK. Funny that, after such a hot summer. I don’t like winter much, but our houses and lifestyles are suited to heat and not to cold. I find winter easier to tolerate in the UK where you have proper heating.

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    1. It’s not really surprising it’s arrived so quickly, Robbie. The long dry very hot spell knackered the trees and many of them began shedding their leaves earlier than usual. But there is a definite autumn feel in the air, anyway.

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  6. Autumn has always been my favourite season. I, too, love the autumnal colours starting to appear, although this year, I think they began to show themselves early in the season – probably because of the heat and drought we experienced in the summer. With the lack of water, trees began to turn brown prematurely. I’m not too keen on the equinox occurring as I find the dark mornings difficult, but then, of course, they’re darker still in the winter. It takes me some time to adjust to coming to terms with the darker evenings. To begin with, I find it depressing, but as I get used to it, it’s quite cosy to pull the curtains early and be indoors in my little private world. I’m glad you have some nice things to look forward to now that autumn is here and winter approaches.

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    1. Yes, it’s the heat and drought that has pushed the trees to turn earlier this year, Ellie. A month or so ago I was seeing large numbers of leaves already changing colour and falling. Very autumnal this morning, though. Rain and dark clouds and that autumn smell in the air of wet soil and humus. I’m sure it won’t be long before the wood burner is having its first use of the season.

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  7. I agree, the coming of autumn has the same feeling as spring – and for me there is something a bit more special with autumn, although this year it felt like summer ended one day, and a cool and rainy autumn has come rushing in. For the first time in a long time I kinda wish I had a few more days of summer left 🙂

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  8. Nicely written. It captures the change well. We’re still couple weeks from prime fall color, and still waiting for the rains that oft come with it. I’m ambivalent. An unusually hot summer is done, but it seems like we’re getting extremes more often and extreme winter ain’t fun.

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