Burien, Washington



 Mewsings from Millie

By all these lovely tokens

September days are here

With summer's best of weather

and Autumn's best of cheer

 - September, Helen Hunt Jackson, 1830-1885



Hello and welcome back to my musings! Can you feel it? Fall is in the air. The mornings are a little crisper and cooler and the nights are getting longer. It is a magical time of the year and there is much folklore and mystical wisdom that has been handed down regarding this special season.

The Autumnal Equinox or Mabon is the first official day of autumn and it occurs on September 22 this year. The full moon that happens closest to that date is called the Harvest Moon. This is because there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise and in olden days farmers were able to continue to bring in their crops well into the night.

Another interesting insight regarding September states that if there is a south wind blowing on September 21, the autumn will be warm. The weather on that day also foretells the weather of November. It is also said if it rains on September 29 then it will rain all the way until Christmas and the first snowfall will happen six weeks after the last thunderstorm of September.

There is also a lot of folklore about animals and birds. One bird that is the subject of many folk tales is the American Robin. Considered to be a friend to people, many stories involve acts of kindness on the part of the robin. It is also said that if a robin sings from the top of a bush, warm weather is predicted but if a robin sings from within the branches, rain is on the way. Bad luck will find you if you kill a robin and your hands will begin to shake, never to stop! Also, anyone who breaks a robin's eggs will have something of value of their own broken.

Other proverbs that mention birds include: birds singing in the rain indicates fair weather is coming; crows flying in pairs means good weather; a crow flying alone means bad weather; few or light-colored spots on a goose's breastbone means a mild winter, a red or dark-spotted bone means a cold and stormy winter; when domestic geese walk east and fly west, expect cold weather; swallows flying near the ground, robins coming near your house and sparrows chirping a great deal mean rain or wind is on the way.

Fall also means migration time for many birds. Have you ever wondered what neo-tropical migratory birds are? These are birds that breed in Canada or the United States during the summer and fly to Mexico, Central America, South America or the Caribbean Isles for the winter. There are about 200 species of birds in this classification. Most are songbirds such as warblers, thrushes, tanagers and orioles but shorebirds (sandpipers, plovers and terns) and raptors (hawks, kites and vultures) are included as well as some waterfowl such as teal. Red Knots and White-rumped Sandpipers have one of the longest migrations from the arctic tundra of Canada to the Terra del Fuego (the southern-most tip of South America), a one-way trip of up to ten thousand miles!

If you, unlike these fine feathered wonders, are choosing to stay close to home this fall, enjoy this wondrous and gorgeous time of year. Take time to reflect and balance your inner and outer worlds, Nurture your roots, seed your thoughts and await their awakening with the coming of spring.

Until next time,

Millie, the Muse of Mews