Fall Equinox 2021
I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.
~Henry David Thoreau, 1892
There is always a beautiful melancholy to fall for me. It’s my favorite season. I love the colors in the trees (my favorite maple tree next to our house puts on such a show for us) and the way the sunlight is somehow crisper and more angled in the cooler temperatures.
But there is a melancholy. The hummingbirds left last week. They stayed so long this year, with the females staying longer here in Maine than I have ever seen them stay. Each time I saw them in September, it felt like a little gift. They buzzed around my head the last day I changed the feeder, which was the day before they left. One in particular was so chubby. I longed to touch her. But she is gone now, on her journey. I am here, waiting for her or those like her to return next year. As I type these words, I realize I both miss her and am envious of her journey. The melancholy feels heavier this year, perhaps because I did not anticipate we would still be struggling with the pandemic, but here we are, whether I like it or not—and the light is beautiful. So I try to focus on the beauty of this season. This journal helps me do this.
There is such joy in fall too. I love the orange of the New England fall—from the leaves to the pumpkins. I love the foods of the final harvests of the year. I mean, how fantastic is a carnival squash or a freshly picked honey crisp apple?
And, of course, Halloween is coming! Fall always feels a little mysterious to me. The harvest season brings so many folktales and traditions and myths. There is something this year that has me longing for tradition, for nostalgia, and I think that’s why I chose Folklore as this issue’s theme. I wanted to feel a connection to something older, something steeped in tradition and simpler (though I have realized from reading journals from the past that the past is only simpler in my mind). Perhaps, as we move forward into uncertain times, there are lessons to be learned from our past, and perhaps, traditions can not only help us face challenging times more prepared but also help us find peace within ourselves.
With each issue, I feel so excited to share with the world the literary treasures I have collected. I am so thankful for the writers who responded so beautifully to this theme. We have essays on spiders and brooms and rain and a magnificent black chicken who is truly the stuff of folklore. There is more poetry than ever in this issue and our first photo essay. There are stories of the past, the present, joy, loss, and tradition. Happy Fall Equinox! I hope you enjoy!
In This Issue
“Eat. Pray. Rain” by Lauren Kessler
“Chicken Talk: A Look at Chicken-Themed Folk Expressions” by Randy Graham
“Coyote” (poetry) by James Sands
“The Raconteur” by Katharyn Privett-Duren
“Reading Time” by Katie Kulla
“Poe’s Final Ascent” by Crystal Sands
“The Avon Diamond” by Marian Carache
“Fall Poems Abound” (poetry) by Loree Griffin Burns
“Watercolor Mushroom Tutorial” by Andrea Mahoney
“A Ramble Through Broom Lore” by Jj Starwalker
“Wasabi” by Allison Burden
“Mushroom Magic: A Photo Essay” by James Sands
“Hippie Farmers and Garden Effigies” by Katharyn Privett-Duren
“Family Recipes” (poetry) by Sarah Kilch Gaffney