Man oh man, have we run out of summer already? Today is egg standing day; the autumnal equinox. Some people, those with equinox-obsessive personalities, believe that on the autumnal equinox it’s possible to stand an egg on its end, being that the sun rises and sets exactly east and the west. That’s because the autumnal equinox is the exact moment Mr. Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above Earth’s equator. At that instant, the earth’s rotational axis (23.4 degrees) is neither tilted away from nor towards the sun. If you want to set your watch to it, it all happens at 7:02 p.m.
In pagan mythology, the fall equinox is called Mabon, or Second Harvest, so if you’re a Druid you might want to head over to Stonehenge and chant or something to welcome in the darkness of winter. And if you’re one for astrology, today’s also the first day of Libra, a time of reflection, understanding and balance. But even if you’re not a Libra feel free to reflect and understand and balance … an egg.
Fun fall fact: Fall foliage isn’t due to current weather conditions like you’d think. In reality, leaves change color because of fewer daylight hours and the photosynthesis thing.
Fun fall fact, part 2: Migrating birds know when to migrate by the southward movement of the sun. And around here that means Canadian geese, sandhill cranes and a mess of other northern fowl will be decamping at Bosque del Apache’s wetlands and up and down the Rio Grande.
Oh, before I get too sidetracked, yes, it is possible to stand an egg on its end. Truth be told, the equinox has nothing to do with it. You just have to do it extremely delicately.
Speaking of eggs, one of the foods I hated as a kid but now kinda’ like is a poached egg, and although I will eat one without complaining I’ve never intentionally ordered one in a restaurant, much less prepared one at home. Frankly, what goes on in kitchens has baffled me since the time I was playing with popguns.
When eating out, however, my palate is pretty mainstream and I guess like most guys, I end up ordering the same few things off the menu over and over again.
Personally, there’s something very comforting about things like the equinoxes and solstices. If nothing else, they’re reliable and if you don’t like them there’s not a thing on earth – no pun intended – you can do about them. That regularity, the changing of the seasons, is another reassurance that everything is right in the world and things can go on as planned.
Fall in Socorro also means just about every weekend is booked up with events. This Saturday the annual San Miguel Fiesta returns in person, and a week from Saturday is both the M Mountain Fly-In at the airport and Oktoberfest at the Hamell Museum on Sixth Street.
But wait, there’s more. The Great New Mexico Chile Taste-Off is a week after that, followed by the 49ers Parade and Trinity Site Open House the Saturday after that.
Before I forget, tomorrow is also something called Dogs in Politics Day, recognizing dogs’ contributions to politics. It was on Sept. 23, 1952, that Richard Nixon saved his vice-presidential nomination on live TV with his Checkers Speech (about how his daughter’s dog Checkers was suspected to have been a campaign gift but Tricia was going to keep it anyway).
And while we’re on historical goings-on, this Sunday is the 332nd anniversary of the first newspaper published in America. It was on Sept. 25, 1690, that Benjamin Harris published “Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick,” a four-page newspaper (with one blank page) that lasted only one issue. Boston authorities considered his writing about the government to be offensive and ordered Harris to cease printing, citing “fake news.”
Well, it seemed the British powers-that-be didn’t like that Benjamin published his newspaper without letting them approve it first.
Luckily the Chieftain has endured much longer than one day, but when this newspaper began is a question. According to my copy of The Territorial Press of New Mexico, there were no less than 27 newspapers at one time or another in this city, starting with The Sun in July 1880. After that one shut down due to its editor being shot and killed coming out of church one night, its presses and what-not were acquired by The Chieftain, which first hit the newsstands in May 1884. And here we are still, minding our P’s and Q’s and writing about publick occurrences every week, hopefully without spelling or grammatical booboos, like using extraneous “k”s.
This all brings to mind the time my English teacher looked my way and asked me to name two pronouns, and I said, “Who, me?”