Sunday, September 25, 2016

Celebrate the Equilux #phenology

Where we live, sunrise today was at 7:03 a.m. and sunset will be at 7:03 p.m., according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. That means that today is equilux, equal amounts of day and night, although this morning's cloud cover severely limited the daylight. My whole life, I've known about equinoxes and solstices. I've also known that sunrise and sunset times vary by geographic location. That comes from years of duck hunting and being aware of legal shooting times.

Autumn sunset
Autumn sunset
Photo by J. Harrington

I hadn't put the difference between equinox and equilux together until today. I'll spare you the recitation of "unknown knowns," etc., but from a personal perspective, this factoid seems to neatly split the hair of the observation that "It ain't what we don't know that gets us in trouble, it's what we think we know that just ain't so." (Unless, of course, you're Donald Trump, in which case you can get in trouble both for what you don't know (but should) and for what ain't so that you claim is.)

September dragonfly
September dragonfly
Photo by J. Harrington

Speaking of such claims, yesterday afternoon, on the eve of this year's autumnal equilux, I noticed behind the house what I think may have been the year's last butterfly. It didn't want to let me get close enough for a good look, so I make no claims. I didn't see much white along the wings but I couldn't judge size of see a black band. Several mosquitoes, but less than Summer's multitudes, attacked me as I wandered after the butterfly. There was also a late season dragonfly, no doubt trying to feast on the mosquitoes that were trying to feast on me while I was trying to identify a butterfly. It is all hitched to each other. Muir is correct as is Joni Mitchell -- "...and the seasons they go round and round..."

Besides the Autumn poets sing (131)

Besides the Autumn poets sing, 
A few prosaic days 
A little this side of the snow 
And that side of the Haze - 
A few incisive mornings -         
A few Ascetic eves - 
Gone - Mr Bryant’s “Golden Rod” - 
And Mr Thomson’s “sheaves.” 
Still, is the bustle in the brook - 
Sealed are the spicy valves -         
Mesmeric fingers softly touch 
The eyes of many Elves - 
Perhaps a squirrel may remain - 
My sentiments to share -
Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind -        
Thy windy will to bear!

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