The autumnal equinox will occur at 9:54 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. The center of the sun will pass directly over the Earth’s equator as it shifts from the northern to the southern hemisphere marking the astronomical beginning of fall.

Of course, this is all a technicality as the sun is 109 times bigger than the Earth so it overlaps both hemispheres all of the time. The sun is nearly one million miles in diameter but since it is nearly one hundred million miles away it appears small enough to see where it’s center is. If you are planning on celebrating that exact moment, remember that the light from the sun takes eight minutes to reach the Earth.

There are already plenty of other signs of fall. The lindens and maples have their whirl-a-gig seeds ready to fly. The oaks are dropping acorns. The poison ivy is looking particularly beautiful. There are parking spaces at the ferry point and in town. The school buses are giving us plenty of opportunities to text behind the wheel when the red flashers come on. When you stop to let someone cross the street, they walk directly across to get out of your way by the shortest route instead of going at a diagonal towards their destination. Of all of the seasons, I love fall the most.

The Chappaquiddick Community Center welcomes everyone to share a potluck meal with their neighbors on the first and third Wednesday evenings of the month from September to June. Appetizers begin at 6 p.m. with the buffet at 6:30. Bring a dish to serve yourself and six others. Hosts are needed for each dinner. Contact the center by calling 508-627-8222 if you are interested. Hosts are responsible for hors d’oeuvres for 20 people, beverages, set up tables and clean-up. The next potluck will be on Oct. 3.

Please keep in mind that on Sunday, Oct. 14, the Chappaquiddick ferry reverts to the winter schedule. This is also the day that the On Time 2 leaves for haul-out in Vineyard Haven. Therefore, only one ferry will be in operation to carry all of the traffic alone. Fortunately, it is the longer of the two ferry boats. We won’t be pleading with people to remove their trailer hitches as we do when the shorter boat is in service alone but it helps if you take the hitch off when not in use. The ferry captain will occasionally need to pass between vehicles in a hurry to get to the other side of the boat. If their attention is on another vessel or another distraction, they might forget that your very solid hitch is there and whack their shin on it. Consider yourself very lucky if you don’t already have a notch in your leg bone from such a painful encounter.

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