Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Morning Swift Show

Autumn Equinox

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Some people think the most wonderful time of the year is Christmas but I know it is September. Gorgeous weather, cooler nights, the colors of autumn starting to show. I just love it.

The Morning Swift Show
I have a long standing tradition of waking up for the sunrise on the equinox and a separate tradition of viewing the Vaux's swifts at Chapman school in September but this year I finally combined them. For years, I've been wondering if the birds put on a show in the morning when they leave the roost so this year I combined my traditions and went to see the Morning Swift Show. September 20th was a windy morning and cool, but the sky was clear and it was evident that it was going to be a warm day. I arrived at the school about 10 minutes before the official sunrise time and there were three other intrepid souls waiting for the bird, a hipster couple wrapped in a mexican blanket and an older gentleman with a notebook and binoculars. Just after the published sunrise time the birds started to come out of the chimney, not in the swirling mass they go in with, but like a fountain dripping over the side. The birds would leap out and fall for a couple feet before flapping their wings and flying off into the new day. The Peregrine falcons, a regular visitor to the evening Swift Show, was there with a mate or a friend. Both were very successful in nabbing breakfast. As the sun rose above the clouds the rush of birds ended and I walked across the park to the dog park. Now I know what happens to the swifts in the morning, and it was fun to have the spectacle almost all to myself. 

Steiner identified the archetypical festival of this season as Michaelmas, the celebration of the God's warrior overcoming a dragon or serpent. It is the time when we face our own fears and earn a spark from Michael's iron sword to light our lanterns through the winter. But first, we get to bask in the glory that is autumn. My favorite time of year.

What did you do to celebrate the equinox? What dragons are you facing? When was the last time you got up for the sunrise? How is autumn progressing where you are? Happy equinox!

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Autumn Equinox 2011: Michaelmas Season and Michaelmas Photos

Autumn Equinox 2010: Here Be Dragons and A Dragon Tale for Michaelmas 
Autumn Equinox 2009: The Autumnal Equinox and The Earth is Breathing its Soul Back In

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