Today is the autumnal equinox. It is that great equalizer of days when every one in the world gets the same amount of daylight. In a few days, those of us in the far north will have very short days and long periods of nights. Those in the southern hemisphere will have longer days as summer approaches them. But today we are all the same.
I was fortunate to live in the Southern Hemisphere for four years. I had to get use to how the year was turned around for me. Summer came at Christmas and in January. Easter was not filled with the signs of spring but of autumn. My birthday had always been in the summer in Canada, but now it was in the coolness of winter. Although flowers were around all year, October and November were filled with the purple blossoms of the Jacaranda trees instead of the brown grass of an Alberta fall and trees without any leaves.
In some areas of the world the shift of the seasons is very little. Some countries experience only a wet and a dry season. Other areas of the world have dramatic changes between the seasons. Summer is definitely summer; winter is winter. But no matter the severity of the change between the seasons, I think we need these changes to mark passages in our lives. These changes in seasons help us remember events. I remember my Grandmother Liepold's burial because it happened in the bitter cold of winter. It was a warm day in Spring when Mount St. Helen's blew up. It was a warm late summer evening when Princess Diana died. The changing of the seasons help me remember the event.
Time moves ever forward. It is like it is a stop watch that was pressed to run and it runs in one direction only. Somewhere though in humanity's early history, it was decided that it was necessary for us to break time up into understandable sections. Two of these sections of time are easy to know why they are there: the earth rotates once around its axis every day so that makes a day; the earth goes around the sun in 365.24 days so that is a year. But other divisions of time are harder to understand. Who decided that there were 24 hours in a day? Who decided that each hour was made up of 60 minutes? Who decided that each minute was made of 60 seconds? Who decided that each day should be divided into 86,400 equal parts? Why are there seven days in a week? Why not nine or six? Why are there 12 months and not 15? We have divided time into so many of these arbitrary parts.
That's why I think the changing of the seasons is so important. The seasons do not change in their part of the year. Winter begins on the shortest day of the year. Summer is on the longest. The equinoxes of spring and fall are quite predictable. Yes weather might change, but these events always happen at the same time, giving us a fixed picture of time. So enjoy this new season and the wonder it foretells. Blessing.