To Autumn


The equinox upon us.


The 22nd of September this year marks the Autumnal Equinox. The equinox is the time at which the astronomical season of autumn begins. An astronomical season is defined and measured by the alignment of the stars and planets, and not – as in a meteorological season – by the average temperatures of given months.  Though we have been at our green ivy-covered college for almost a whole month, the beginning of the fall season is only now upon us (and that ivy will soon grow red). To be precise, the equinox names the time and day when the Sun shines directly on the Equator and the length of the day and the night are almost equal. According to, “The September equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south.” In Boston this Friday, the equinox occurs at 4:02 PM Eastern time.

The weight that the passage of time carries and the realization that this Autumnal Equinox will be only my fourth though my last at Harvard College leads me to an intoxicatingly potent series of thoughts. One of these thoughts is the use of “autumn” as a verb and “autumnally” as an adverb. With gratitude to the Oxford English Dictionary, I muse over the definition that to autumn is to cause to mature or to age. I autumned here over the last few years and now wonder what is to become of our harvest.

Caroline C. Cronin ( is autumnally expectant.