Thursday, September 23, 2010


It was a grand early morning and I wish I'd been up to see it.

First, the autumnal equinox clocked in, in its usual mysterious manner at about 3 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC): the sun apparently directly over the equator. (One of those "if you say so" facts, I know, but it's always good to track what's happening on the old orbit.)

Second, about six hours later, more or less, the Harvest Moon—the full moon closest to the equinox—rose over the equator as well as horizons from Tuktoyaktuk to Timbuktu. A rare occurrence for this to happen on the same day as the equinox. Last happened in 1991. Won't happen again till 2029. Shine on, dude! (As only Leon Redbone can sing it.)

And apparently the planet Jupiter got in on the act, too, in opposition with Uranus. (As usual; those two have never gotten along.)

A few other seasonal notes:

• No other season has a highbrow name and a lowbrow name of almost equal familiarity. Efforts to promote Vernum, Hibernum, and Aestivus have not been successful.

• Apparently there is no truth to the folklore that you can balance an egg on its end at the exact moment of the equinox. To quote from the website of The Money Times:

But this belief has been rubbished. According to a research, any one can balance egg on its point every day of the year, provided that surface is rough, like sidewalk or pavement, to support egg. Also, by sprinkling salt on the smooth surface, one can balance egg.

• There will be a reunion tour of Three Embers and an Ober between now and 12/21.

• In some parts of the world, the traditional autumn greeting is "Humpty Dumpty!" (i.e., "have a great fall")

• pumpkins, pick-your-own apples, chrysanthemums, asters, Indian corn, cider, cider donuts, hay rides, and fall foliage. Attention must be paid.

Finally, a reprise of "Shine on, Harvest Moon" as only Laurel and Hardy can sing and dance it.

Humpty Dumpty!

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