Equinox and Eclipse

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I am already dreading the eclipse. I am awed by it, of course. Awed that it will roll across the United States, arriving in the Finger Lakes in the mid-afternoon and then continuing on its path into Canada. Where I live we will have 99% totality. I want 100% and I only have to drive up the lake to get it. I will make the drive. I want the dread.

I want to remember that I am a primal creature, affected by forces so enormous that they remind me of my own staggering insignificance. Usually I spend my time congratulating myself for completing some small task and consider the day a win if I have done one creative thing. I break this fretting up, this time of year, by monitoring the hawk eggs. While I am worrying about the fall of democracy, the hawk pair, Arthur and Big Red, just keep coming back to the same nest in a light tower high above a Cornell athletic field, to raise new red-tails. I’m glad of it. My great-grandmother, for whom I was named, was Susanna Hawks, so I’m invested.

Today is the vernal equinox and the daffodils have bloomed, not just on banks with a southern face, but in edges and patches all over town. Are they early? They feel early. Should I worry about that? Do I now have to worry about the natural forces themselves? Big Red and Arthur keep raising hawk young, though, and they know what they are doing. So I focus on balance.

I’m not a summer person. The transition from winter to summer sets me on edge, its explosion of energy just a little hard to manage. It’s like going to a home improvement store with all those expectations of productivity and Supplies. “We know you have a big project that you should be able to do yourself although that is in no way your area of expertise and we are here to make sure you do it.” It’s a lot. I like the silver-grays of winter, the stark patterns of empty trees against the leaden sky, ambiguity and nuance, shadows and mystery. And the fact that I am allowed to hibernate.

The cycle does not allow for out-of-season hibernation, though, so I take all the little coffee cups of my life and stack them up and keep them precariously balanced. If I don’t think they will all crash, they are like the equinox, which holds for a moment and then tilts away, yielding to the sun. I watch Big Red and Arthur, brooding on the nest, and wonder if they ever question it: “are we doing this again?” And they do, through wind and rain and late-winter snow and cold. So I do, too, planning the Easter dinner, the colors and the eggs, and assembling my seeds.

And anticipating the existential dread of the unexpected dark.

2 Responses

  1. Happy Easter, Equinox, Primavera, Susan, How delightful to read your take on our seasonal attractions. We enjoy expressing our own feelings! At the same time, we love to hear/read from those who hold a different viewpoint especially when carefully reasoned to explain why someone would prefer Winter. I live for summer in the same way that Hall of Fame Second Baseman and holder of highest season batting average ever, .424. The interviewer asked Rogers Hornsby, what do you do during the winter. “Why I sit at the window and stare out, all day. I wait for summer so I can play baseball again.” The eclipse path will miss our STL suburban address this year. However, we will make a two hour drive to the ranch owned by Nancy’s brother and sister-in-law. There we will experience 4 minutes and 12 seconds of Totality. Amazon has already delivered the safety glasses. Expect to share the ranch with about 50 others.

  2. Wow I like this. The trail it leaves, the sound of stacked cups not falling, Susan hibernating, Big Red and Arthur chattering to the little ones within the shells. And brooding. What does brooding sound like, I wonder? The eclipse is an excuse to write marvelous things.

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