Saturday, September 22, 2018

Autumnal Equinox

Autumn is right around the corner for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, while those in the Southern Hemisphere are gearing up for warmer spring weather. The autumnal equinox arrives on September 22, 2018 at 9:54 pm EDT (0154 GMT September 23). At that time both hemispheres will experience an equal amount of sunlight (and night - 12 hours each) when the sun is directly in line with the equator, evidence that the earth spins on a titled axis. When days begin to grow shorter, deciduous (green leafy) trees start signalling to their leaves to stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for the leaves' colour and photosynthesis.  Because the colour change is more dependent on light than temperature, it takes place at basically the same time year after year.  It may however be altered somewhat by temperature and drought.

For those who like I become caught up in this annual event, you may be interested to know that pumpkin spice contains no pumpkin.  It is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. This celebratory spice is but one of many traditional characteristics surrounding the autumnal equinox. I have never escaped the "back-to-school" classification of this particular time of year. As well as the advent of wool sweaters, leather jackets and Blundstone boots. I still feel the pang of wearing white after Labour Day. The autumnal equinox regularly marks the end of cottaging and a transition indoors, frequently to the pleasure of a fireplace and a bookish study.

The autumnal equinox signals the temporary dénouement of social interaction which normally subsists until the Winter Solstice around Christmastime. There is a marked decline in the frequency of neighbourhood chatter over the backyard fences and hedges. It isn't just the chipmunks and squirrels who are preparing to burrow for the winter.

What now distinguishes this event for us is that it heralds our departure to southern climes for six months. Although we began altering our routine as much as ten years ago, it has only been in the past four years (since I retired) that we have vanished for half the year. Like many others who have done the same thing we anticipate that the day will come when we are no longer able or inclined to continue the winter hibernation. For the time being however we still find snow offensive enough that we are able to bear its deprivation.

Relocating to an entirely new environment is not necessarily magical but certainly appealing on balance. As our resorts are primarily residential there is a noticeable lack of activity throughout the Fall.  It is not until after Christmas and the New Year that the number of people increases, the predominant influx commencing in March (which is when we begin to anticipate our own departure to Canada in April). There are always certain merchants who close shop in these resorts over the winter. The disappearance of what are primarily tourist attractions means that we quickly insinuate the flavour of being strictly local.  We are naturally obliged to establish liaisons with a grocery store, hair dresser, dentist, automobile dealership, drug store, spa and theatre, all of which makes us feel we've blended in with the wallpaper. And while it is undeniable that one day is very much like another, it is equally true that the glory of a sunny day on an empty beach is the Sacrament of Heaven! The natural beauty is a regular source for my mediocre photography. Though there is seldom any particular stimulus for my writing hobby I willingly succumb to mere travel topics.  We have for example determined to take a hovercraft from nearby Fort Meyers to Key West. This is indicative of our declining interest in motor vehicle travel; and our contemporaneous preference for ease and capitulation. We have already discussed our plans next year to fly south rather than drive there. This is not something I greedily anticipate - because I love to drive - but it is a recognizable alteration similar to many others we've embraced as we age and decline.  We will of course rent another car on site but it won't likely be of the same caliber as we now own.

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