On Wednesday, September 22, planet Earth wasn’t tilted toward the sun, or away from it. Our spinning blue marble was straight up on its axis for what we call the Equinox—one of two days a year when there are equal amounts of day and night, regardless of where you live. Meaning we all got pretty much the same amount of light and dark on the 22nd—equality for all.
I was thinking about the extended metaphorical possibilities of Sun Equality Day on a trail run this morning, when it started to rain. At first it was a fine mist, but within a couple of minutes the gentle precip morphed into a hard-driving slant of big, cold drops that quickly penetrated my thin shirt and began dripping off the brim of my cap. I picked up the pace, but so did the rain. By the time I rounded the bend toward the parking lot, it was flat-out pouring, and I was soaked, and chilled, and getting kind of grumpy.
Not so cool.
Poetry to the rescue! In the midst of the sogginess, I remembered one of my favorites—Whatever Comes by William Stafford, the first Poet Laureate of Oregon—and slowed to a walk.
In the fall, rain of the happy tears returns with its big step over
the mountains. Gray sweeps here again, draping trees and
buildings. Air floats up the cellar stair with its fresh face
turned toward the open.
The new season means it’s all right—time is: sure, those evil
things happen in your life, but they’re over. Here comes the
rain to forgive, wide as outdoors and so welcoming it doesn’t
care whether it knows you.
I’m laughing at the person I was: who cares how serious my
face looks? Now—on the mayor’s hat, on the poor woman at
the corner, all over fashionable people—comes the wide gray
Equinox, Equirain. Equality for all? One can only hope we can follow Mother Nature’s lead.
But if we could, wouldn’t that be cool?