Welcoming the Harvest Moon

Tonight I took some of the leftover berries from yesterday’s cobbler to make a deep reddish-blue ink.  While I worked, I invited a few meditations on the season of harvest, the waning of the light, and the seeking of balance.

This week marked the autumnal equinox, when the hours of day equal the hours of night, and the sun entered the sign of Libra, the scales.  It seems an auspicious time to be mindful of balance in our lives, but it also strikes me as a time of only very precarious balance.  With each breath, the days grow shorter, and the perception of balance is only maintained for so long.

I was raised with a general impression that things in the natural world have a tendency to seek equilibrium.  If you put salt in water, it will usually dissolve, and then disperse until each part of water bears an equal burden.  If you open the door after a hot shower, the cool air rushes in, the hot air rushes out, and the molecules hurry to take their places until the temperature reaches a steady moderation.

But what about entropy?  What about the natural tendency towards disorder, and chaos, and constant change?  The inevitability of wasted energy?

It is chaos that transforms and provides its own sense of order, if you step back enough.  Pour something red into something blue.  Give it a good shaking and wildness and unruliness, and eventually you reveal a smooth shade of purple.

I started to think of the harvest time not just as a season of bounty, but of sacrifice, marked by the sheaves we must cut to fill our bellies, and the things we must let go to strike that balance.  We celebrate the fleeting equinox as we recognize the cycles of change and instability that together make our balance.  We prepare to enter a period of accelerating darkness, until the scales are tipped so far that they are compelled to turn, and the balance rights itself again.

I found it difficult not to hold on to the blueberries we had picked back when it was hot and beautiful outside.  I found it hard to say goodbye to the fruitful, but if I had not given them up to be cooked and pressed and strained, they would have spoiled.  I gave up the last of them for my ink.  A handful of berries, pummeled into only juice.

To this I added a bit of salt, so that our sacrifices might be pure, and vinegar, so that they may be purposeful.

It’s a bitter juice to swallow, but it can create such beauty.

in quietude,
arrow

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