Fall Equinox 2022: Harvest Moon

Posted on Sep 21, 2022 in Food, Music, Nature, Seasonal Messages

Saturday, September 10th, just after 3 o’clock I got a call from my tailor, Kim. I’d left a couple of things for hemming. She was closing early. “We have a celebration tonight,” she told me. There had been some Chinatown festivities at the Farmer’s Market that day, with dragons and lions dancing in the streets, games of chance, a long table feast, music and vendors. Everyone was welcome to the long table. I noticed houseless and residents, settlers and Indigenous lining up for lunch, but I had been in a hurry. Now I hurried to search the Internet: the Moon Festival or the mid-Autumn Harvest Festival is celebrated across Asia. It’s a time when extended families gather to share food, hang lanterns, watch the moon and give thanks.

Could I come and get my clothes now? I couldn’t get to her shop fast enough, so we agreed to rendezvous at her home (not far from mine) about five o’clock.  At the appointed time, I hopped on my bike, braved football stadium traffic (Calgary vs. Edmonton), skirted the road closures/barricades and arrived just after the hour, the house full of company. Kim was in the kitchen cooking. A daughter and then a granddaughter handed me my articles through the front screen door. This gathering, I thought, was its own passing on, generation to generation, the traditions that bind us; however we call them, to the land. I was grateful to glimpse this family’s celebration, even if just from the doorstep.

That night, when I woke in the middle of the night and peered out the window, I found the full moon shining through the trees, joined by Jupiter and Neptune. The whole sky was lit up. I lingered in the glow.

Ten days before I had experienced a harvest moon of my own, a re-aligning of the planets. A few months ago, I made a decision to leave my day job at the end of August to dedicate myself to writing full-time. I had been planning it for a long time. Leading up to the day, colleagues would ask what it felt like.

Like falling off a cliff and not knowing what was on the other side.  

Or jumping out of an airplane. I had a parachute, I’d done the training, but would I land okay?

A kind of death, I told someone else. It is an ending, she agreed. But also a new beginning.

Well, now I’ve landed and it’s as if I’m experiencing each day from a new angle as I find my way into new routines and new habits. Working full time and writing part-time, there was so much that I needed to cram into each minute. I was good at it: eating and working. Getting to work and getting exercise. Reading and commuting. A double, even a triple life, endemic in our culture, rich at times, but also exhausting.

It is a blessing to be able to slow down, to do one thing at a time. Walking for the sake of walking. Rising later, more with my natural rhythms. Making lunch when I’m hungry. Doing the laundry any day of the week. Sundays were for so many years my writing shift, now I have whole weekends to enjoy like other people do! And regular work days to focus on my passion.

Some days I wake with trepidation. Can I meet my many goals? Will I be as productive as I think? Most mornings on rising, I’m reminded of other times in my life when I’ve set out on a new adventures: moves, travels, studies. I feel exhilarated, reinvigorated and alive. The mundane still enters in: the pin valve that broke on my hot water heater last weekend, the neighour’s shower that (somewhat) overflowed into my suite last week. Life still happens. But there’s a simplicity that comes with being able to focus one’s life—a clarity in connection. Like looking at that full harvest moon in the night sky: pure joy, surrounded by all the world.


  1. Kate
    September 22, 2022

    I learned recently that the harvest moon was very helpful for farmers who used the moonlight to help harvest their crops. I don’t know if that means they had too much land to harvest or hadn’t started soon enough, or if the crops just weren’t ready, but it is a bit how I feel now, working by the light of the harvest moon. I feel your peace, Audrey, and the lightness of your pace, and I measure my steps through the ripening crops.

    • Audrey J Whitson
      September 22, 2022

      Fascinating! I suppose we haven’t always had electric lights or combines to guide the harvest. You remind me, Kate, how each moon is present to us, though changing, through its entire 28-day cycle. This harvest moon too.

  2. Carolyn Pogue
    September 23, 2022

    What a lovely moon reflection. Thank you. I am glad you are finding a new pace and wish you joy as you explore your new life.

    • Audrey J Whitson
      September 23, 2022

      Thank you for this.

  3. jano thibodeau
    September 23, 2022

    September 23. 2022 – dearest beauty Audrey, congratulation on your decision to bring a change to your maturing self. Yes, the circle to birth anew is real. The full moon brings inspiration during her monthly waning and waxing – light into shadow. Now in my old age I need to pay attention to the facts that clay in my hands had to come to an end with a new creation. I thought of the creative mind in my old hands with joints of arthritis – OMGODESS – not to worry said my creative spirit draw waxing and waning circles of light and shadow – ah! yes like the full moon that I am.

    love light ~j.

    • Audrey J Whitson
      September 23, 2022

      It’s true, isn’t it. Creativity is a constant/will always find a way. Thank you, Jano.

  4. Linda Bumstead
    September 25, 2022

    When the moon comes around to the south window it lights up the entire hallway. I just find it so amazing. it makes me think of Shakespeare”s characters doing or not doing things because of the light of the moon.

    Congratulations on leaving your job. It is a bit like falling off a cliff and it does take time to find your balance.
    It will be exciting for you to have more time to write and also to enjoy more things at leisure.
    I find since I’ve retired that I’m even more aware of the seasons. One of the reasons I enjoy my community garden so much is that gardening celebrates the seasons.
    Enjoy having more time to cultivate your garden – whatever shape that takes!

  5. Audrey
    September 27, 2022

    Thank you, Linda. You will have me reading Shakespeare from a whole different lens. Love the moon image and the thoughts on seasons in the garden. So true.

  6. Linda Winski
    September 28, 2022

    Grateful as always for these quarterly reflections, Audrey, and grateful as well for your life changing decision to move forward into this new chapter of living your passion to write full time. It is a gift indeed. Beware, however… for as I have found, having each day available as a blank canvas, I often forget to set out the paintbrushes and paints and simply glide through the day without intention, moving from one invitation to the next depending on where I feel called 🙂 and at the end of the day I wonder what it is that I accomplished! Having been retired now for almost two years, finding a discipline that nurtures all parts of me is still a work in progress. So happy for the freedom that lies ahead for you. As Oscar Wilde wrote: With freedom, books, flowers and the Moon, who could not be happy!
    Grateful hugs to you. L

  7. Audrey
    September 28, 2022

    Wise words. Thanks, Linda!

  8. Janice
    October 16, 2022

    With blessings and love, Audrey, as you walk a new path. I’m excited to know that more of your beautiful writing will be coming into the world. Hugs…