from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 21 September 2013

mizzle and mellow melancholy

A soft mist, Devon mizzle, is dripping from every leaf and flower. In the courtyard one young robin has survived from the brood whose members would slalom so terrifyingly towards the cat's mouth, down below the slate rockface in the shrubbery, when they were younger. The tits and spotted woodpeckers are around, checking out the garden. I'm resisting feeding them so far – there's plenty this time of year. Give it another few weeks.

Autumn on wings of er mellow melancholy. A poet's season. Abundance. Transition. Harvesting of all we've grown, inner and outer, since spring.

My bee garden has been a wonderful success. The borage clings on, with its sky-blue flowers still visited by little bumble bees – successors of the late spring ones, I imagine. The late-planted snapdragons have multiplied; the once-purple-this-year-white buddleia is still thrusting out plumes, and the autumnal michaelmas daisies are lilacing. An occasional corn marigold and plenty of the common garden marigolds, calendula, with which I make ointment, continue to flourish. The butterfly lavender, spectacularly beautiful, still pushes out an occasional flower, and the hollyhocks are prolific, huge and dark and dangerous-looking in their deep deep red-tinged velvet-black livery – I think Hades each time I see them. At the back of the plot, behind all the mixed wildflowers, my new artichoke plants thrive and blossom into rich fat heads.

And at last we've a good, if late, harvest of beans for eating and freezing; plentiful kale and cavallo nero; a few fat squashes and pumpkins; and nearly some sweetcorn. There are more apples than we can easily store, unless we co-opt my study floor in the loft of the spacious shed.

The earth turns towards the equinox here in the northern hemisphere. I love these transitional phases; not least because my birthday is the autumn equinox. Here, balance is the key: the bringing-together of all the pairs of opposites. At this time, day and night are of equal length; such a powerful symbol, to be poised here at the gateway between inner and outer, dark and light, night and day, summer and winter, masculine and feminine.

Libra the Balance begins here, and all whose sun occurs in Libra will know how this is the essential struggle: to hold the opposites in balance whilst sustaining the tension that incurs, making of it something creative rather than letting it break us. I do a better job of it these days – after all, I'm old enough to know that I need to! - but I am aware that resolving the opposites in certain fields still troubles me. (But then, moving beyond duality into unity is the universal human struggle.)  For instance, containing my need to travel and not be fixed or tied down, whilst still making something of a home in one place, knowing it deeply, which conflict gives a certain restlessness; expressing both the side of me that needs solitude, and plenty of it, with the side that needs relationship; the side that loves people, music and good conversation with the side that loves silence and long stretches without peopled interruptions. We all, of course, have to resolve these questions; they just seem to visit me strongly.

Unlike the solstices, which are fixed points in space/time, the equinoxes 'wander' rather. (There's a geophysical reason for this but I can't quite lay my finger on its memory: something about the earth's wobble on its axis??) They can take place any time between 20th of the month and 23rd. Technically this year the equinox is on 22nd, at 20.44pm. (I've written before on here of the equinoxes and solstices so I shan't repeat myself.)

Have a good one – I will be in my campervan somewhere tba – West Cornwall by the sea, perhaps; or in Dorset where storyteller Geoff Mead will be performing at 4pm tomorrow, Sunday, at the Guildhall in Lyme Regis (tickets on the door, for anyone close by).

Fruitfulness and abundance of the season to you all.

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