Thursday, September 22, 2011

Romancing the equinox

I suppose the neighbors would think it odd if I lion-danced up to their front doors bearing a lantern and mooncakes this week, but it is the season you know, turning now to autumn. 

I'd be a little late. Tet Trung Thu, as the moon festival is known in Vietnam, is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar --- close to the equinox although usually not on it ---  Sept. 12 this year. But who in Lucas County would know?

Besides, I doubt Hy-Vee has lotus seed paste --- and you really need that as the base for mooncake filling if you're a traditionalist. So I'll  be satisfied with memories of children dancing through lantern-lit streets and friends sharing the cakes, strange to western tastebuds.

It seems like we should do something to mark the equinox, which will occur here at 4:05 a.m. tomorrow. Nature certainly is sending summer out with a series of visual firecrackers.

Maximilian's sunflowers, the most dramatic of the autumn explosions, are just coming into bloom, incomparable among trailside bouquets with goldenrod, purple and white asters and prairie grasses in full plume.

I have mixed feelings about the bottle gentians, whose appearance in the grass seemed abrupt but really wasn't. These are among the last of the summer flowers to endure as the cold advances.

The days here this week have been mild and sunny and the air conditioning, set at 80 last time I looked, even kicked in Monday evening. But the air was slightly iced as we moved heavier items around on museum hill yesterday morning, preparing for a mid-October celebration --- and it felt good.

It was dark when we left the church at 7:30 last night after evensong. Twelve hours of sunlight, twelve hours of moonlight just now as the seasons change. A couple of hours earlier, monarchs had been feeding.

One of the oddest things about the human condition is our persistent demand for miracles when we already have them --- coming into bloom in full view around us.

1 comment:

Mark McVey said...

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence... How many times have you smiled when this saying is brought out? :)