This week has been so packed with activity for me and my family, I have hardly had a moment to sit down and capture its highlights to share with the Outdoor Afro community. But alas! — A moment has opened to reflect in print on the equinox, which brought forth the gift of planets, stars, sun, and harvest moon under a canopy of sky still undecided about being day or night.
People ask all the time, “Do you do any events?” Well, the short answer is: no, but the most accurate answer is: sometimes.
While I personally get out quite a bit, Outdoor Afro likes to leave it to the experts of programming to get brown people outdoors, and positions itself as a kind of cheerleader, encourager, and connector to outdoor programs and experiences. But sometimes, as in about once per quarter, I do gather groups of locals together to participate in low-barrier activities that unite people in a practical way with the outdoors that makes the transformative power behind this effort immediate.
So last Thursday, in partnership with the East Bay Regional Parks, Outdoor Afros and park fans gathered to hike in the Oakland, California Hills, where we watched day’s end and night’s beginning on the first day of fall. What makes this fall equinox hike so special is that it came with a Harvest moon, or full moon, that won’t be seen altogether again until 2029.
Our group of 15 people, ranging in age from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, met at the trail head at 6pm and led by parks naturalist Bethany Facendini on a moderate, well lit 3.5 mile hike where we were able to view sublime ridgeline vistas. Together we reached the summit just in time to spot the sun and moon on opposite sides, with steady lights of Jupiter and Venus in view. Adding to the rarity of the moment, were the gifts of the hikers, who each brought treats to eat, songs, and poems to share that enriched the experience for everyone.
Here is a poem written and shared aloud by Outdoor Afro Cliff Sorrel, who came with his birthday celebrating wife Tyann (pictured above):
As the earth spins
The night and day
Arm wrestles to have the longest hour
The Libra blooms with grace and elegance
Like the opening of a flower
Zesty and feisty as the Libra appears
Controlling the balancing act of the scales
As it swings like a pendulum
The universe swells
But on this day…..this day
The Libra prevails
The scales are equally balanced
Throughout the beginning and end of this day
The autumn equinox is when the day and night
Are closely equal, to complete the equinoctial
To learn more about the Fall Equinox, check out this website.