The Autumnal Equinox is at hand,
when day and night,
light and dark,
are be equal
and the year balances
before darkness descends.

Out in the misty fields,
the sumac bleeds color
into the paling blue sky.
The goldenrod catches
the weak sunlight
and refracts it onto the earth.

The trees shed leaves
the color of the sun,
each drawing from sunset,
or sunrise or noon.

They fall gently onto
the rotting duff
and will later be mired
into wet black and brown
by hungry deer
and hikers.

The stream is low,
and leaves coat the surface
like a living patchwork quilt
over the sparkling cold water.

'Neath the waving brown grasses,
a rabbit crouches,
nibbling busily at his lunch.
Beneath his soft brown coat,
white down is showing.
He knows that winter
is on its way.

A white-tailed buck
with ruddy flanks
bounds over the stream,
then turns and looks
with wise, liquid eyes
and twelve points,
then gracefully disappears
into the forest shadows.

I, not out for a hike,
but for a giving of thanks,
sit by the quieted stream.
I pull a fresh loaf
and a small pot of honey
and a steaming thermos of tea
from my pack.

I bend and touch the earth,
then stretch to the skies
and am blessed by the sun
and a breeze.
I give thanks for the day
and the month
and the year.

To the earth,
a token,
a libation,
a gift.
A small gesture
for so much bounty.

I savor my tea
and smear golden light
on my bread of life
and I sit and enjoy the moment.

All too soon,
I'll have to return
to the "real" world,
where true balance is lost.

But here, on this day,
I pause and give thanks.

All too soon,
winter will come.
But the balance will stay.
I'll keep it that way.