First Day of Fall

In the Northern Hemisphere, autumn began today at 4:03 AM UTC (if you live on the East Coast of the U.S. as I do, that’s three minutes after midnight last night).

The Sun has just crossed from the north celestial hemisphere to the south celestial hemisphere. The Earth’s elliptical orbit is actually taking it closer to the Sun, but at the same time the Earth’s axial tilt is slowly pointing the Northern Hemisphere away from the Sun, causing shorter, cooler days there. At this time of the year, day and night are of approximately equal length in both hemispheres.

In the Southern Hemisphere it’s spring; winter’s just ended.

Here in WNC the leaves are beginning to turn and there’s red, orange, pink, and yellow among the green. There are a lot of old oaks in my neighborhood, and when I step outside I can hear acorns fall with a sharp smack to the earth. I hear them hitting my neighbor’s roofs, bouncing off.

I love summer, but I often think that my true favorite times of the year are the transition times — when it’s neither one season nor the other, and change is imminent. When it’s still warm and a little humid in the mornings, but there’s dew on spiderwebs and fallen brown oak leaves. I think I like the transition between summer and fall — my two favorite seasons — the best.

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