The Autumnal Equinox

by Erica L. Moffett

Today is the Autumnal Equinox. I only know about this because the Writer’s Almanac reported that “today marks the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of fall and the point in which the Sun is directly above the equator and the hours of day and night are nearly equal. In the Southern Hemisphere, today marks the vernal equinox, the first day of spring.”

So first I have to say to all my friends in the Southern Hemisphere (John, Otto, Lewis, Herda, Adrian, Ryan…), Happy Spring!! I am jealous already!

I learned later that today is technically not the Autumnal Equinox. I went out for drinks with my boss after work and told him that we should toast to the Autumnal Equinox. But he corrected me. “The autumnal equinox actually occurs at 4:22a this morning,” he said. “So officially today is not the Autumnal Equinox…” Normally I am a detail-oriented person, but I decided that I would let this one slide.

Perhaps the most distressing thing to me about autumn and the quickening of days and the chilling of temperature is the uncomfortable feet. Today it was 58 degrees when I woke up. I got dressed. I put on my open-toed, broad-footed summer sandals. Then I thought better of it. I took them off and looked around my closet for appropriate shoes for the Autumnal Equinox. All that faced me were 2 3/4-inch grey and black-heeled pumps and boots. Very nice (and somewhat costly I might add!) grey and black-heeled pumps and boots. Unfortunately all of which smushed my forefeet and caused great bouts of pain while walking in them.

“No! I thought. “It can’t already be here! That’s not fair.”

Alas, it was already here. Back in NY (not Florida), pushing my foot down into an alien shoe that had no care whether my foot was comfortable.  And believe me, my foot was not comfortable. The nerve ending that had been aggravated several years ago when I had trained for and completed two and a half marathons in two weeks suddenly came back. The shoes were too tight. My soles couldn’t breathe. And moreover, they didn’t even match my outfit. So on top of incredible foot discomfort, I didn’t even get the benefit of feeling dressed to the nines! Instead it was a nonchalant blasé feeling that pervaded. “Not exactly,” I thought, “the way I want to start off the Autumnal Equinox!”  

But there I was. Shoes or no. Autumnal equinox and all. The sun and moon would move forward (or rather around). I could choose to move forward with them. I could perhaps decide not to move forward with them at all. But that was an absurd thought. The sun and moon and stars would move forward regardless of whether I was ready or not.

So then the question was whether I would go willingly or unwillingly. Would I choose to be swept up and away into their larger cosmic rhythms or would I choose to stay and stand stubbornly here on earth, mired in an uncomfortable shoe debate?

I looked wistfully at my beautiful, beloved open-toed wide-soled sandals. I smushed my feet into those autumnal shoes and gingerly stepped forward into the world. Oh! Pain in the foot there is!

Oh! Pain in the foot be gone! Spring Equinox!

Save me as quickly as you can!