Come 4:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time today, summer officially gives way to autumn: it is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, with the opposite being true in the Southern Hemisphere, for there, this is the moment that spring begins. Things will be more or less balanced for a short time, but as we continue past this day, from this point forward we here in the Northern Hemisphere will have more darkness each day than light, while folks in the Southern Hemisphere will have more light each day than darkness. It is a gradual change, each day different from the one before, and it all has to do with the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth on its axis as it makes its yearly journey around the sun. Were it not for that 23.5 degrees, we would have no seasons at all.
And so the sun about now is rising pretty much due east and setting pretty much due west. We are in a brief time of balance, something worth seeking in our lives at least twice each year as the two equinox periods come and go. Not an easy task, to be certain.
It may be the first day of autumn by the almanac, but in traditional reckoning of time, the equinox is the midpoint of autumn, which began with the first of the harvest festivals, Lammas, at the start of August. Again, balance, as we find ourselves at the center of the season, half of it in the past, half of it yet to come, both sides of it on either side of where we stand now.