Last night was our annual Fall Equinox Chili Fest. I shopped, cooked, and hosted for 14 hours …and loved every minute of it! We had about thirty folks or so — monkfishy folks, neighbors, friends from school. The house was full and happy and the trampoline was well occupied by “kids” of all ages. It’s always so satisfying to see my worlds cross pollinate. I loved watching Katie and Miss on the smoking porch, talking travels and tattoos with Rebecca and Paul. We stayed up late visiting with our new-ish neighbor Helene, my aforementioned friend Katie (also a neighbor) and Lindell — who’s always the last monk to make it out the door. (Thank goodness! He and Paul have time to catch up, talk theology, and — most importantly–do the dishes!) I think my favorite neighborhood find this year is Helene and her son Syren. (I’m totally butchering your name Syren. Tell me how to spell it in the comments, will you?) Syren and I sometimes hang out on the corner while I’m waiting for the school bus to drop off the girls. He’s fifteen, well traveled, articluate, and charming — a wonderful combination to find in any teenager, as far as I’m concerned. Helene is confident and beautiful, a world traveler and an accomplished artist (dance), so of course I’m completely charmed.

I often feel like preaching when we’ve got a little bit of a crowd. It’s part of the fall out from leaving my post at a traditional church. I love leading people into ritual and ….ummmm…observation? reflection? reference? I’m not sure what the word is I’m looking for here. At any rate, I love being in the nebulous divine space together, so I usually try to find some way of doing that generously and inclusively when friends gather for special events. This year I wrote down some thoughts about gratefulness, which I shared with the group. Here they are for your perusal (below). Then we gave thanks for the bread and the wine, and of course the chili and everyone made toasts to things they love about the Fall. (Football, school, sweaters, Halloween…) I love living like this with people. Truly nothing makes me happier.

In Gratitude,



When Thanksgiving comes around, later this Fall, I will find it hard to be thankful. I’ll think of the native Americans, and our treatment of them – then and now – and it will rub me the wrong way. I know too much, about how the date and its history, and how it’s been moved about over the years to make for a better pre-Christmas sales season. My inner cynic rises to the top and I just have a hard time hanging with Thankgiving. Plus, it’s one busy day that ushers in a busy seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy being with whatever family and friends gather with us on Thanksgiving. But I’ll admit we’ll be harried and crazy– roasting turkey and making pies — and inevitably, as it has been every year so far, one of us will be sick. (Last year Eden had a fever of 104!)

I’ve always been more in tune with the natural turn of the seasons than with artificial dates. I can remember, even as a child, being very reflective at the turn of the seasons, especially at the beginning and end of the Summer. These have always felt like “New Year’s” to me. So at this this time of the year, on the Fall Equinox I find myself reflecting, and being very thankful.

About four years ago, I met a neighbor named Renata. Her children liked to play with a little climber toy we had in our front yard. (This was when we were living around the corner.) I had tea in her beautiful house, and fell in love with the warmth of her living room. We didn’t know each other for long before she got a new job and had to move. I was sorry to see Renata go…but I had to admit, I was dreaming about her house. One evening the girls and I wandered down to Renata’s house on Densmore street, hoping to see the kids one more time before they moved. No one was home, but there was a stack of paper for packing dishes, and a marker, so we sat for awhile drawing them a goodbye note. As we sat in the porch swing, I felt a voice inside me say: “This could be home.” And shortly thereafter, it was. We had always hoped for a home in Seattle with a bit of a yard and room for housemates…but a front porch, and a view! It was too much to hope for.

Four years ago this Fall, group of friends painted our wall pistachio lime and our ceiling deep red, and I felt grateful. The weekend we moved in, these same friend got all our boxes hauled into the house, pots of chili on the stove and neighbors into our living room, and I felt grateful. As we’ve lived into this house and filled it with children, and housemates, and guests of all sort, I’ve been thankful. As I’ve heard Paul admire the setting sun glinting off the skyscrapers downtown – a late Summer site observable from our bedroom balcony–I’ve been grateful. As neighbor kids have hopped on our swing, and skittered about on our porch and through our playhouse. I’ve been grateful. As friends and withmates have gathered each week in our living room to nurture our souls and travel together, I’ve been grateful.

This is the fourth year that you all have circled around our table, and I am grateful. It is an embarssement of blessings, living in this city, this house, with these friends, with this family … and I am grateful.

3 Responses to “Equinox”

  1. Wes Roberts Says:


    Here in Denver the Fall Equinox happened at 4:27 PM on Thursday…so I heard on TV. How do they figure this stuff out? :) Loved hearing about your party…what time is the one for the Winter Soltice?

  2. poor_mad_peter Says:

    Blessed equinox to you, Rachelle.

    And by the way, a belated thanks for pointing the way to the annual Fremont Arts Council Solstice celebrations. I’ve written a reflection on that which will appear in early October in a local weekly paper, here in Thunder Bay, many thousands opf kilometres away.

  3. Magpie Girl » Blog Archive » Creating a Family Shrine Says:

    […] A few months after we arrived in Denmark, someone in the building across the street moved out and left a funny little box on the corner with the rest of the ‘give away’ stack. I rescued it in the hopes of making a new shrine. It moved from one place another in our house, and tried filling it with this and that. But it wasn’t until our Autumn Equinox Chili Fest that it finally came together. (what we do here, recipes here). It is now filled with: […]