September 23 was the official first day of fall, or if you’re one for correctness, the autumnal equinox. And if you’re one for detail. It will happen at 12:49 a.m. And if you’re one for astrology, it’s the first day of Libra, a time of reflection, understanding, and balance. If you’re not one for astrology, you can make it a time of reflection, understanding, and balance anyway. Your call.

That’s the thing. Whether or not you believe in the influence of the sun, moon and planets, it’s all about interpretation and goes way back to the Babylonians and Egyptians and Greeks when they looked into the heavens and anthropomorphized constellations into animals, fish, and so on. Then they came up with the four elements; earth, wind and fire. And so not to be confused with the 70s R&B band, they added water. Then the 12 houses, in which reside the areas of one’s life. Then came the angles between the planets.


By this time, it was all getting so complicated that wouldn’t you know it, but a new job market sprang up and astrologers started hanging out their virtual shingles.

The topics most folks are interested in fall into three categories; health, love, and money. As for money, it was J.P. Morgan who said, “Anyone can be a millionaire, but to become a billionaire you need an astrologer.”

Old as it is, as long as someone asks, “What’s your sign?” and the other person answers accordingly, astrology will never go away. Mine is Aries, but sometimes I think I was born under the “temporarily out of order” sign.

On the other hand, I go with William Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

I’m just thankful WebMD doesn’t believe in astrology because we’d all be Cancer.

But I digress.

After too many weeks of double and triple-digit temperatures, I always look forward to the autumnal equinox, when the tilt of the Earth makes the southern hemisphere closer to the Sun and where we live…well, farther away, and we get cooled off for a while.

It’s the time when we start thinking about bringing out those winter clothes and thicker socks, but of course, in Socorro, winter clothes also include the shorts some folks wear all year round.

I’ve found that although Socorro has sort of the basic four seasons that are pretty much divided equally, it’s not like most of the rest of the country. In this little corner of New Mexico, fall is quite different from those scenes we see in the media of falling leaves in the places that have all those deciduous trees. We have none of that nonsense of spending an entire Saturday raking leaves up into a huge pile into which kids and dogs love to jump and spread them out all 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. Yes, we can carry on routinely.

Aside from the week bringing in autumn, get ready to celebrate National Dog Week, a good time to lavish your best friend with doggie stuff.

Every year the American Kennel Club releases its latest dog rankings in terms of popularity, and Lassie – oops, collies – came in at number 39, way below Rin Tin Tin – oops, German Shepherds – at number four.

Out of the 199 breeds in America, the number one favorite canine pet in the US of A is French Bulldog. Rounding out the top 10 are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Bulldogs, followed by Rottweilers, Beagles, Dachshunds and German Shorthaired Pointer. I was half expecting the Chihuahua to be somewhere in the top 10, but it came in one notch above Lassie at number 37.

Oh well, as Jonathan Swift wrote, “Every dog must have his day.”

Just make sure that if you lie down with yours, you don’t get up with fleas.