cornucopia, harvest vegetables and gourds on table

Today is the autumnal equinox--the beginning of a season many people find complex. There is an interesting duality to fall, and the equality of the equinox, when the sun crosses the celestial equator and day and night are of approximately equal length. Many people think of it as a time of battening down the hatches, storing our nuts like diligent squirrels prepping for the winter ahead. Heavy sweaters and comfort foods replace fresh salads and romping in the sunshine.

Leaves begin to shut down the hard work of greening, some plants will weather the winter, and some are finishing up for good. Kids have been dragging themselves back to school for a while now, snowcones and pool parties, open fire hydrants and freeze tag a rapidly fading memory. We put a quilt on the ed, shut windows to the wind that whips up, and pull sweats and slippers out of the closet.

What, then, of harvest? Autumn is, at the very same time, the most bountiful season. The seeds, literal and figurative, we planted and tended all year have finally come to fruition and we pick and enjoy the reward for our hard labor. In turning inward, toward hearth and home, we are also ushering in the season of connectedness, family, celebration, the time of greatest gratefulness and giving of thanks.

What project or intention did you "plant" earlier this year that will be readying itself and/or you to face the world now! Your earlier efforts are paying off in abundance this season, like that cornucopia on greeting cards that overflows with more deliciousness than it can possibly hold (also known as the horn of plenty).

Think of this time of pulling back not as surrender, or mourning the leaf that dies and dries and blows away, but, like the plant that shed the leaves, it is prioritizing and strategizing how best to spend its energy. What can you let go of that no longer serves you--streamline yourself and your thinking this fall so you only put effort and energy into the areas that deserve your attention. Embrace the change and look forward to the most gracious, connected, abundant autumn ever.

Joyous Equinox!

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation ( and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project ( Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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