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A Denney for Your Thoughts: Signs of the Times

By Connie Denney

Ah, these warm days and cool nights!  Although its official date has not arrived, it sure feels like fall, autumn if you prefer.  Such a fine time of our year by any name.  As you read this, the Labor Day holiday will be in our rearview mirror.  So, I expect it will be even more fallish.

According to the almanac-type calendar I consulted, this year’s autumnal equinox heralding the season will occur Sept. 22.  The black, white and red calendar advertising an insurance company reminds me of the Ramon’s Brownie Calendar—commonly used for planting by the signs–Papaw Martin hung in a prominent place in their home.  Now, that company has a website.  It explains that the original old-fashioned almanac calendars, with “’The Little Doctor’” image have been published since 1876.

Not all look to the stars for gardening and planting. Some folks are interested in zodiac signs for very personal reasons.  Calendars also hold a very important annual date not highlighted as a holiday, yet important to the individual. We do not have to mark the anniversary of our birth to remember it.  

Each of us has a sign named for a constellation of stars.

Some folks look to the stars, so to speak, perhaps hoping for better understanding of themselves or others.   They may consult a horoscope-type feature, such as the one titled “In the Stars,” which is published weekly in The Erwin Record.

For the sake of curiosity and just a bit of fun, I turned to Bryan Stevens, managing editor of this newspaper.  For him the most interesting thing about the weekly horoscope feature is the listing of celebrity birthdays that week. A recent one included Halle Berry, Steve Martin, Sean Penn; actors; Magic Johnson, athlete; Connie Chung, journalist; Madonna, singer; Bill Clinton, former U. S. President.  Anyone wishing to see what the stars predicted for them for the week could take a peek.  Just in case you really want to know, Clinton’s Aug. 19 birthday makes him a Leo.  Advice  (paraphrased) to him and others of that zodiac sign was not to take anything for granted, as seemingly mundane events could significantly impact his  present and his future.

But back to Bryan Stevens, whose sign is Gemini.  I looked at a nypost.com article by Kyle Thomas for characteristics associated with this sign and asked Bryan about them.  

He could identify with part of the information.  He does see himself as being inquisitive and curious.  We readers see evidence of that in his newspaper writings.  He is especially interested in birds and butterflies.  Another winged creature from nature that he brought up is the dragonfly with its mystical qualities, as it symbolizes transition.  That makes sense, as they begin life underwater, then make the transition to life as we see them.  Bryan said that when we see a dragonfly seemingly skipping across the water’s surface, it is actually laying eggs.  Our conversation inspired me to read a bit about them — fascinating.  But, that is a story unto itself.

Bryan also likes history and sees patterns of things repeating themselves. (Although our soft-spoken managing editor did not say this, I feel compelled to add:  Will we never learn!)  

As for his sign’s power color, yellow, he was not so sure about its relevance for him. It did, though, bring to mind  his reference to late summer and fall as the yellow season.  It seems flowers — along roadsides or in planned plantings —are mostly yellow.

When I asked about planting by the signs, he said he sticks to flower gardening so he really does not know.  But he was reminded of some lore regarding a bird. He remembers hearing that one should not plant corn until the wood thrush sings.  He does know that this flute-like song can be heard in early May.  “Corn planter” is the wood thrush’s nickname.

If these ramblings have made you curious enough to want further reading about constellations and such, you might want to look up equinoxes (astronomical vs meteorological), astronomy, astrology, zodiac.  

Whether you take these topics seriously, or with the proverbial grain of salt, it is OK.  Signs of the time they are.  And, now is the time for looking to see when those first leaves turn colors, for pausing to look and listen at twilight, and still hoping we will learn from history’s important lessons.

Be safe.  Stay safe.