In the Balance
Solstice always moves me to think about extremes and turnings, the longest, the shortest, the most, the least. . . beginnings. But now we are approaching Equinox. For a moment, all things hang in balance. We have had summer but winter isn’t knocking on the door just yet. The days are a tightrope, warmth and sunshine on one side, wind and rain on the other. We teeter back and forth between a walk on the molo and hot tea with an afghan on the couch. It looks like summer but feels like fall.
I have a few days now between the sweltering heat of summer and the regimented weeks to come for shifting the balance. It is time to clean. Unlike spring cleaning, clearing away the mustiness and old cooking smells of winter, fall cleaning here is lifting the shroud of dust which has quietly drifted in through the open windows and settled on everything. I have never lived anywhere nearly so dusty. I can’t keep up with it. I don’t even try. But as the windows begin to close, it feels as though any difference I make might linger for more than a day. The rains will assist me, settling the desert dust blowing up from Africa on high winds.
Cherries are long gone and peaches are fading fast, but apples are appearing and winter squashes are on the move. The kitchen doesn’t yet call me to its heat, but the recipes are appealing again. It is time to plan. Beyond the Pumpkin Spice Lattes (which only happen here when I bring the McCormick’s to the coffee bar), there will be pumpkins to cook, purée, and freeze. Kitchen staples need to be inventoried, dried beans and mushrooms, spices, and herbal teas for quiet evenings.
It is also time to give. As the seasons turn, so does the wardrobe. As I begin to look at warmer clothes, I try to remember if I wore a particular piece at all last year. Or the year before. And consider why I’m keeping it. If I don’t love it, someone else might. Or at least appreciate it. It’s easier to come to the end of a season and let go of the things. But the poor don’t want sundresses in October nor have they worn the sweaters we cast off last April. Giving is great, but storage is precious. Try to be considerate of your charities. Set those summer togs aside in a place where you’ll find them in March. What can they use now rather than what are you tired of wearing?
So, as we walk the balance beam of Equinox with thanksgiving for the summer spent and in anticipation of autumn’s arrival, may there be in our lives giving and receiving in equal measure.