The Autumn Equinox has arrived, that subtle shift in light, in season and in the innate rhythm of Nature – a teacher, pointing towards the beat of our own lives. How can we open to, slow down, listen and respond with a different beat that allows us recognise and harvest the fruits of our lives, while at the same time preparing the ground for letting go, for losing, for planting and for new life? Life we cannot see or even indeed imagine yet. It is the Creator’s Gift to each of us.
“At times…our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~Albert Schweitzer
[Nano Nagle} became a captive flame – a woman ablaze with love. In her daily rhythm of spiritual practice, she began by dipping the wick of her life into the oil of Divine Love. Each evening after her long day’s work, she returned … carrying in her heart and mind the grief, pain and needs of those she had encountered during the day. Her spirituality held no dualism.
‘The more she moved among the people, especially the poor, the more she was drawn to prayer and mystical union with God, the source of her energy and mission’. (Page 44, The Story of Nano Nagle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge’, Anne Lyons, pbvm).
This autumn equinox may be that time for us to yet again give thanks for all the ‘lantern-lighters’ in our lives – faithfully bringing us ‘a step beyond’ what we imagine is possible, especially in ‘deeds, and not word’.
In a word
Open the door,
the window, the rusty hinges,
crack them open to the light.
Draw apart the curtains,
open to the day alighting as a gift upon
the window sill.
We don’t know quite
how dark this house we live in is,
until the light floods in.
We get used to the view of our small rooms,
while unaccustomed breadth
and height awaits us outside.
In a word
Listen to the birds,
as they catch the updrafts of the wind
to soar into wondrous space.
Watch how the
washing catches the breeze,
as though it were asked to stop and dance.
And see how someone
asks you to come to the threshold,
to take a step beyond the ledge,
to draw apart the
heart’s protective ramparts,
and lower its drawbridge down.
Yes, in a word
See what it is that awaits you.
Ana Lisa de Jong (Living Tree Poetry)
Ana Lisa de Jong is a contemplative poet, writer, mother and wife, and Chaplains Administrator for the New Zealand Defence Force. Not always in that order.
About the Autumn Equinox: The autumnal equinox occurs in September each year, and in the northern hemisphere the date marks the end of summer and beginning of autumn. In 2021 the autumnal equinox will occur on 22 September at 8.21pm BST (7.21pm GMT)
The Earth is tilted on its axis, meaning that as it orbits the Sun, the Sun illuminates the northern or southern hemisphere more depending on where the Earth is along its orbit. However, at two points in the year the Sun will illuminate the northern and southern hemispheres equally. These are known as the equinoxes.
The Harvest Moon is the name given to the full moon that occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox. Historically the light of the Harvest Moon was said to enable farmers to work late into the night, helping them to bring in the crops from the fields. The Harvest Moon usually falls in September.
To find out more about Nano Nagle see Life lived on the ‘Razor’s Edge’ – Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie) and also Nano’s legacy keeps giving … – Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie)
Nano’s Letters – A Digital Collection – Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie)