Of the lunar events that mark the calendar, I think the fall equinox is my favorite. There is such a sense of balance as the garden stands poised between summer and winter. There is still food to harvest, and a few 3-season flowers like cleome and black eyed susans won’t give in to the cool nights. The main color has changed from the neons of summer to subtle reds and purples of fall. The canterbury bells, whose blue insistence marks the beginning of July’s peak, have formed hard seed pods and the leaves are turning yellow. The delphiniums and baby’s breath breathe one more bloom into the chilly morning air. The banes are flowering— bugbane, fleabane, wolfsbane, leopardsbane.
The goddess sends her winter scouts in the guise of spiders the size of a finger joint, and the cicadas scream out one more chorus before the chill takes them underground. The morning dew has that heavy cold sparkle that says “I want to be frost”.
I tend to extremes, so it’s not really in character for the fall Equinox to be my favorite of the earth holidays. I’m not a compromiser; Libra and her scales just annoy me— it’s ONE way or the other,_ f*ck_ compromise, I’m right. My brother,with an Equinox birhtday, is a classic Libran compromiser. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for him growing up stuck in a household with a dour and whiny Capricorn (me), a flighty Gemini (my mother) and a choleric Aries (my father).
My family, come to think of it, matched the sun cycle- two Solstice and two Equinox birthdays: winter, spring, summer, fall. There’s a novel in there somewhere, or a mythology. Perhaps the eventual implosion of that family unit is the reason I’m a gardener- a garden matches the eternal with the ephemeral. It is something you can both keep and consume. A family that consumes itself, like mine did, has no replant; you cannot save the seeds and start again.