Equinox


The first Sunday after the first full moon after the autumn equinox is recognized with fire, with the roasting of nuts and the drawing of drapes. The windows are lighted, the evenings grow short. The children stare into flames and their cheeks are ruddy. The mothers and toddlers sit closest to the fires, cracking nuts, putting sweet meats into shallow wooden bowls. The dogs are subdued. The cats work feverishly through the night, catching the mice who come in as the evenings cool. The beeswax candles are fresh. The nuts and the squash and the onions are still new, waiting for the beatitudes of those first autumn celebrations. The elders sit gratefully in their bent wood, feet warming at the fire. The crackling fire marks each evening, first long and slow, then short and thankful. For this we are about to receive. Cold feet are pressed against warm bricks, the evenings count hours, then minutes, then seconds, then a moment’s sudden puff against a frozen window. Done, for children, for chickens, for sleeping bulbs, breathing in the cold air briefly. Not yet, they say. Not yet.

 

 

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