The great cycle of seasons continues to turn and we are at the threshold of autumn. I love this time of year. The fall garden has been planted and the seeds are beginning to grow, but the show has just begun. Although gardeners are usually found in their milieu during the brightness of midday, that is only a small part of what can be enjoyed.
As time slips into late September and October, the autumn sky is perhaps one of the most beautiful of the year. Late in the day, as the last rays of the sun push from below the horizon and streak across the sky, towering thunderheads turn dusky rose and earthy orange in the glow. Lightning pulses across the tall pastel billows. Soon, these thunderstorms will dry and vanish as the cool of October starves them of the fuel they need to thrive. With that, winter will be at our doorstep.
Well before the twilight of dawn brightens the horizon, I get out of bed, slip outside and peer up into the darkness to see the early morning sky- a preview of what will eventually become the evening sky of winter. All is calm; all is bright. To the east, the brilliant winter constellations of Orion, Taurus and Canis Major occupy the starry dome from the zenith to the horizon. The brilliance of their purely-colored stars is breathtaking. The Pleiades, with its dipper-like cluster of stars, dangles overhead like a diamond chandelier. With the Dog Days of summer past, steely blue-white Sirius, the dog star, ascends above treetops and roofs to take its place as the brightest star in the sky. These are old friends that have existed for tens of thousands of years. I have known them since childhood and they will continue to exist well beyond the time when I am no longer a part of the living. The sweep of time as seen from the perspective of these stars and constellations is so very different from mine.
When in the garden, we spend our time looking down at the small plants and little flowers. We reach down and touch the earth, embracing it in our hands. Our gardens will come and go quickly, so these have to be enjoyed while they last. But, what is below us is only a part of the great whole. As you garden, as you run your errands and as your go about your life, look up and see what is above you. The two are inseparable and both beautiful in their own ways.