Marja-Leena Rathje
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fall equinox


Dear readers, I hope you've all had a great autumnal equinox, or spring if you're in the southern hemisphere. Yesterday was the first day of fall and the weather was gloriously warm and sunny all weekend here in southwest BC. Our summer drought is over with the several rainy and cool days this month making the grass green again. Next to spring, this is my favourite time of year, with its cool nights, pleasantly warm days, and the beauty of nature's rapidly changing colours. Several times recently I wished I'd had the camera with me as I was going about errands. One very rainy day I was walking to an appointment and I could not help but stop for a moment to admire the gorgeous glowing red Japanese maple leaves scattered on the sidewalk and grass borders. At the supermarket I was admiring displays of huge pots of chrysanthemums in many shades of yellow, gold, orange, rust and burgundy and the colourful piles of mini pumpkins, gourds and dried Indian corn.

Of the equinoxes, the spring seems to be celebrated a lot more in many cultures, yet the autumn is more associated with harvest. This year both Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the start of Islam's Ramadan happen at the autumnal equinox.

This weekend I enjoyed some gardening including taking cuttings to grow for next spring and preparing some plants for their move back indoors. I'm thrilled that my pot of third generation Silver Vase Plants or Aechmea Fasciata have three flowers and a fourth emerging! These flower last for many months. Aren't they amazing? In searching for its forgotten Latin name I learned that this plant is related to the pineapple plant.


Marja-Leena | 24/09/2006 | 8 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Culture


Not to be a jerk, M-L, but when a season actually begins (if it even occurs in a given climatic pattern) depends entirely on where one lives. The weather gurus here at Penn State say that for us here in Central Pennsylvania, based on average temperatures, each of the canonical four seasons tend to begin around the first of the month in which the solstice or equinox occurs. And this year, as a matter of fact, September 1 *was* the first chilly day since the beginning of June -- chilly enough that I had to drag out the long johns. I'm sure things are much different out in coastal B.C.!

I agree with you about seasons and locations (and you are not a jerk, Dave!). One night last week after the rains stopped and it cleared but was very damp, the temperature dropped to about 7C (45F) and I was dragging some pots of tender tropicals closer to the house. This week it's 11 and 12C (53F) nights and up to 24C (75F) days so that's quite warm. Nothing like the frosty nights up north or the prairies, where I grew up, so I can't complain. It's typical though that after a cooler spell it warms up again, until the rains return for good. Still it's called autumn, isn't it, according to the angle of the sun, wherever we are in the northern hemisphere, with all its local variations and even microclimates? Hope it's warmed up again for you, Dave, it seems a little early for long johns, brrr! Have you noticed any climate change there? We're supposedly getting warmer in North America.

Hei Anna! Olemmehan molemmat kukka ihmisiä, minullakin on pari orkidea kukassa.

Sumptuous flowers. When you look at something as complex as this, serrated edges, blue highlights, symmetry, depths of tone and those striped leaves, you ask, as ever, WHY? Why, as nature displays its billions of purely functional patterns, we find them so aesthetically pleasing.

Hi Anna in UK, interesting question! Another thought I've had is if we lived in the Brazilian jungle we'd be too used to seeing these and would not appreciate them as we do in the northerm climes, and that goes for a lot of tropical plants. Once a friend who lived in Los Angeles was visiting us, and she was looking at all my houseplants and said they were all weeds back home!

During this time of year the streets of Santa Fe are flooded with roasted chile pepper venders, the scent is phenomenal and once experienced will stay with you no matter where you find yourself in the world, each year during the months of August and September. Yet even in the southwest, I swore the wind was equally fueled with the aroma of oncoming snow for two days, last week. Maybe it was anticipation of Rosh Hashanah; maybe it was a longing to return to the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for once again voicing my thoughts.

Hi Daniel, the scent of roasted chili peppers and Santa Fe sounds marvellous, as I've yet to visit that part of the continent! The change of seasons, whether it's signalled by that page on the calendar or by the weather, does seem to bring up recollections and assocations from our past. I always remember the autumns of my childhood in Winnipeg - the early frost followed by glorious Indian summer and walking to school through the rustling golden leaves. Out here the changes in seasons are not so dramatic, and I imagine even less so in Santa Fe. Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!