At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point (RA = 00h 00m 00s and longitude = 0º) and the autumnal point (RA = 12h 00m 00s and longitude = 180º). By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point. [Wiki]
Autumn is here. Autumn: gold and silver mornings, frozen mornings; mist, and bright sun - too cold to get out of bed some days, then, oh, those mornings when you can lie there as long as you want... Convince someone to bring you a coffee, toast, or porridge, read a chapter or two, then brave it, sometimes warm, sometimes summer lingers, sometimes cold when winter threatens.
Ruby berries, leaves turning, the reds, the golds, the yellows, bronzes, and the oranges, crunching through them, dodging the puddles (or not), thick mud, and dew on the grass. The breezes, the winds, the rain; out in it, out in that mist, silver-edged leaves, that beautiful, soft, cool sun low in the sky, bonfires and chimney smoke, the rich, damp air, and then coming home; coming home to coal fires, log burners, electric fires; soup, coffee, or hot chocolate; warming up, drying off, blown to bits, inside with a cardigan, slippers, and your current novel.
Afternoons with the lamp on, blankets, armchairs or sofas, cushions, and the rain and wind gathering like the ninth wave outside, but inside the cracking of the fire, the squeaks from the budgies as they roost, the TV murmuring in the background, fairy lights on perhaps, or candles if there's a power cut. And, if I'm still outside, loving it but still looking forward to getting home, to enjoy this from inside, because when the sun has set there's no where else I would want to be but home. Drink tea and lots of it, in the autumn afternoons.
And evenings, on the sofa, under blankets, watching Coronation Street, or Law and Order SVU or anything because it's too cozy to move. Watching Halloween on the 31st October, even though it's silly, and still cringing anyway when Jamie Lee falls down the stairs. Shadows jumping about, and the thrill of gothic novels, knowing you're safe but indulging anyway. Stephen King, because I can't resist a fun read.
And nights; electric blanket on full tilt, two quilts, making nests, and leaving the curtains open, looking at the stars, or the clouds, or the moon, or just the black. Reading too late because I always do, then lying down, being held in the soft warmth.
Some of my favourite passages in classics are about autumn:
It was autumn; beneath the pale sky the city lay listless in a soft, tender grey, pierced here and there by dark patches of foliage that resembled the broad leaves of the water-lilies floating on the lake; the sun was setting behind a red cloud and, while the background was filled with a light haze, a shower of gold dust, of golden dew, fell on the right bank of the river, near the Madeleine and the Tuileries. It was like an enchanted corner in a city of the 'Arabian Nights', with emerald trees, sapphire roofs, and ruby weather cocks. At one moment, a ray of sunlight gliding from between two clouds was so resplendent that the houses seemed to catch fire and melt like an ingot of gold in a crucible. [Zola, The Kill]
The afternoon was deeper stillness possessed the air, and the glitter of the American autumn was tempered by a haze which diffused the brightness without dulling it. [Wharton, The House of Mirth]
My walks, that autumn, were all the more delightful because I used to take them after long hours spent over a book. When I was tired of reading, after a whole morning in the house, I would throw my plaid across my shoulders and set out; my body, which in a long spell of enforced immobility had stored up an accumulation of vital energy, now felt the need, like a spinning-top wound up and let go, to expend it in every direction. [Proust, Swann's Way]
It was a dark, chill, misty morning, likely to end in rain - one of those mornings when even happy people take refuge in their hopes. [Eliot, The Mill on the Floss]
The horizon above Sydenham Hills shone in that peculiar gold radiance, deepening to vivid crimson, and then dying off to silver blue, which an Autumnal morning alone can offer in perfection. [C. Bronte, Tales of Angria]
The chill, shivery October morning came; not the October morning of the country, with soft, silvery mists, clearing off before the sunbeams that bring out all the gorgeous beauty of colouring, but the October morning of Milton, whose silvery mists were heavy fogs, and where the sun could only show long dusky streets when he did break through and shine. [Gaskell, North and South ]
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
[To Autumn, John Keats]
The autumn leaves, ravaged as they are, take on the flash of tattered flags kindling in the gloom of cool cathedral caves where gold letters on marble pages describe death in battle and how bones bleach and burn far away in Indian sands. The autumn trees gleam in the yellow moonlight, in the light of harvest moons, the light which mellows the energy of labour, and smooths the stubble, and brings the wave lapping blue to the shore … The nights now are full of wind and destruction; the trees plunge and bend and their leaves fly helter skelter until the lawn is plastered with them and they lie packed in gutters and choke rain-pipes and scatter damp paths. [Woolf, To the Lighthouse]
Oh, yes, autumn. I love autumn. As for plans? A few in October, but none to make me kick myself! I'm looking forward to reading Martin Chuzzlewit with Charlotte (I've not read any Dickens since July), and the Gothic October Challenge, Mysteries of Udolpho, M. R. James with Jean... And until then, The Little Stranger for RIP and The Grapes of Wrath... This autumn, I'm going to enjoy wandering through the forest, and, of course, my shelves.