Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Happy Autumn Equinox!
Big, deep breath. Oooo, what's that. Ahhh, the smell of crunchy, colorful leaves. It's officially FALL starting today. The whole planet should feel balanced as we have equal amounts of daylight and darkness today. Hmmm. I really want to make some snide, unfavorable comments about a certain hateful political party not having any balance ever.... Moving right along. Waaay back in the day when we were an agrarian society and everyone had dirt under their nails and blisters on their hands, this day was referred to as Mabon and was the second harvest time of Fall. This was it. This was when you knew what/if you were going to be eating during the harsh and dead months of Winter. It was a time of gratitude. Once upon a time, I lived in an pre-Civil War house. My neighbor, John, then 70-some years old, was born in this house. John would tell me stories about how two brothers and their families used to own my old tin-roofed, brick house. But they got into a disagreement and split the 120 acre farm in half. One brother and his family got the house on half the land; the other brother moved his family and the chicken coop to the other half of the land. They all farmed with horses. Even when tractors came out. "Why, John, why would you farm with horses even though tractors were invented?" "Because none of us farmers could afford 'em, Bheki." Wow. I was thrilled to have John as my own personal tour guide through not only farming history but the history of the house I lived in. He told me, "All the men worked out in the fields all day long while the women worked in the kitchen. "That night when we came in from the fields, there was a table right over there." John pointed to the south wall of what I was using as my dining room. "It was mounded with food." He motioned his hands as if there were a two foot high mountain of food spanning the length of the ghost of the table in his mind. "Harvest dinners," he nodded, "we had Harvest dinners right here in this room." Wow. Also, once upon a time, did you know that Thanksgiving was originally celebrated October 3rd? Abraham Lincoln issued a "Thanksgiving Proclamation" in 1863, changing the date to the last Thursday in November. In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed it to the second-to-last Thursday to try to stimulate the post-Depression economy. In 1941, Congress' final answer: the fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving. Personally, I'm not a big holiday person. Everyday is a good day to find something to celebrate. Sure, somedays are easier to feel thankful than others. Today's one of those easy days with my seasonal memory of John and another beautiful day in the Keweenaw. I updated the blog banner picture to reflect the season.