Autumn equinox is a seed harvest. Conkers, acorns, berries of every hue. When the days and nights are of equal length. An inhale before the darkness comes.
Seed harvest. Seeds. All potential. Enclosed mini universes waiting for the right conditions to push out and up towards the light and their bloom. Harvest. The culmination of work and toil. The rest reward for our labours. The reaping of what we’ve sown. The end.
On this warm Autumn day it feels like every plant is begging the wind, the squirrel, or me, to take it’s fruit and keep it safe until growing time next year. To transport it to it’s destination. The Equinoxes are between spaces. Liminal places between Summer and Winter, day and night. We look back and we look forwards. Harvesting next season’s seeds.
I thought I had infinite time. Time with my eldest son, and time with my father. But both are running out, run out, ending. One has moved in with his girlfriend, so the gap year reprieve was nothing of the sort. Is it because you hate living here? I ask him. No of course not, I love you. I’m just more productive and creative there and I really like it. That’s so great. My mouth makes the shapes as my heart crumples like one of those controlled tower explosions. Caving in on itself.
Turns out my dad’s heart is a bit crumpled too. Silently damaged over the years and now revealed in it’s weakness and failure. I understand what’s happening but can’t seem to grasp it. I get vertigo at how small he looks in hospital. His hand in mine a reversal. The thought of losing him, a neverending sob rising in my chest.
I’m in a weird dream space of mourning that I’m not meant to be in. I should be excited for my son. And optimistic for my father. I’m deficient on both counts. I’ve got emotional rickets and my structure is folding like bones without calcium.
Fuck off empty nest. Such a trite moniker for 20 years that ends with a loving smile and See you then. Seed harvest. He is the transported seed, borne off to who knows where. I worry at his landing, let it be warm, let it be fertile, let him grow magnificently and in joy. I keep telling my best friend that we need to take five minutes (I mean five months or years if necessary, she understands this without my needing to explain) to get used to this new world. What I don’t say is that I’m not actually sure I can get to that other place from here. A place of Christmas and birthdays and not much in between. How am I meant to do this?
My home antagonises me. The space once occupied, repainted and empty. Who the fuck would be a parent? I repeatedly ask the blank walls. Me. Me. Me. I would be. But ouch, this fucking hurts like a bastard. Turns out parenthood is a liminal space. Motherhood just a protective, nourishing, wrapping for a seed that moves on.
And my dad. Even if this all turns out ok, time is scarce. Life ends. Older people’s lives end soon. We ignore the blindingly obvious until we are shocked into receiving it: he’s here now and then he will be gone. Sooner than I want to be in touch with. It feels terrifyingly stupid not to have been electrified by this knowledge in each moment. Turns out life is a liminal space. A joyful, painful wrapping for an inevitable harvest end. He’s been my seed wrapping, long past the point that I acknowledged him as such. His inevitable going feels like I’ll be tossed to the wind, to land who knows where.
Autumn equinox is a seed harvest. An inhale before the darkness comes. A looking back and looking forward. Just give me five minutes.