The Guemes island artist Leo Osborne sent me this poem today, sent to him by a friend in Charleston. Watch for a story about Leo's art and garden in my Natural Gardener column in Pacific Northwest magazine in early December....in the meantime...
The Magic Calls
By Lee Kieseling
Nature’s clock sounds the deep, resounding bell:
Night and Day are equal today
Gather the fruits of your labor
Prepare for the coming chill
Take stock of what is revered
Cull what is not
Collect the seed for the planting
Fill the stores
Bank the fire
Secure the threshing house
The bell tolls, its draw from a time of history and internal calling
And the magic still has life under the dust of memory
And I smell the bread I’ve put in my oven warning me not to be over-long in my reverie
One more look at the moon and stars
One last breath, I fill my nose with the coming season
I step back into the present, the everyday and close the door on the night.
Equinoxes are astrologically potent events that happen just twice a year. Autumn officially begins today, when day and night are of equal length due to the tilt of the Earth's axis. For this brief time, the center of the sun is in the same plane as the Earth's equator. Even Wikipedia waxes eloquent; "The equinox is a precise moment in time which is common to all observers on Earth."
We Earthlings experience this as an uptick in the tempo of seasonal change. It marks the beginning of our slide toward darkness, which feels postponed, pleasantly delayed by this sunny stretch of weather with clear nights to enjoy moonlight and star shine.
The garden clearly shows the effects of drought, shorter days, chillier nights. Here are a few scenes from my garden this morning; the maples are turning, the geraniums, hydrangeas and helenium bloom on, and the last of summer warmth is ripening the pumpkins....
That's a rodgersia crumpling away on the bottom left...and a solid chartreuse Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) in a small pot in the foreground. It'll keep going until first frost.
A few sweet peas hanging on...