Until 1753 Great Britain celebrated the New Year on March 25 – just after the Spring Equinox of the Northern hemisphere.
Equinoxes are the midpoint between solstices, when day and night are equal. In Sydney, we have just had the Autumn equinox, and so now the days will shorten and the nights will lengthen, until the Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year. And at that point the wheel of the year will turn once more towards spring; thus the celebration of New Year in the northern world on March 25.
It’s easy to celebrate Spring, but what about Autumn and the long journey ahead through Winter? It might help to quote H.G Wells at this point.
“We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle.”
Nice, and easy to think on Good Friday of the Easter long weekend, miles away from the diary and the office. As I write I am sitting on a beautiful stretch of beach on the NSW South Coast. Actually I lie; I’m at my dining room table in my flat. People stretched on beaches don’t need to write blogs I’ve found.
So the point is, that as Sydney emptied yesterday, as I watched the four wheel drives, loaded with camping gear, head south, north, west, I felt a little, well, empty. Why wasn’t I going somewhere? It was hot and sticky, I could do with a swim, and a weekend away. Instead I was going to spend the weekend, apart from a food filled family feast on Easter Sunday, rehearsing, producing, publicising, doing the myriad minutea of things required to put on a theatre production. Not quite the endless summer, land of the long weekend that was in the zeitgeist.
And then this morning I woke up. And things were different. A subtle shift had occurred. Overnight it had become Autumn. There was a chill in the air and all I wanted was a warm pair of jeans and an apple crumble.
To shorter days and the end of daylight saving; to cardigans coming out of the cupboard; to soups and baked dinners and red wine. And to work. Good, solid, satisfying work that keeps you warm and filled with wonder at the mystery of it all.