Nature's Tipping Point

by Bernadine Tay September 22, 2020

Nature's Tipping Point

The world tipped this week. You may not have noticed it, this tiny shift, this cosmic tilt, but the northern hemisphere has begun its tilt away from the sun and the southern hemisphere towards it.

As I sit sipping my cup of tea, watching the scalloped edges and cryptic markings of a comma butterfly drink in the buddleia’s last hoorah, the sun lowers across the sky and I’m reminded that the nights are now ‘drawing in’. 

This week’s equinox marks the beginning of autumn, when the length of day meets the length of night in even balance. Indeed, the name derives from the Latin ‘aequi’, meaning equal and ‘nox’ meaning night. I feel particularly drawn to this notion of balance, this perfect moment to savour the last days of summer and look ahead to a season of festivities.

October is my favourite month and the September equinox is its herald. Perhaps it’s because my birthday falls in October, or perhaps it’s all those happy childhood memories of blackberry picking, sweet chestnut hunting and apple scrumping. Whilst autumn is a season for harvesting and gathering for us, for nature it’s a time of sowing the seed for a future spring.

It’s a time that’s full of mysticism too, especially for ancient cultures. In ancient Greek culture, it marks the goddess Persephone’s return to the underworld and to her husband Hades. In ancient Chinese culture, the full moon closest to the autumn equinox is called the Harvest Moon. It’s celebrated as the autumn festival with lanterns adorning the street and with the giving and receiving of mooncakes.

I remember the harvest festivals of my childhood when large displays of fruits and vegetables (and random collections of packet and tinned foods) were laid out in the church. And I can still remember the words from our autumn assembly that we would sing with all the gusto and enthusiasm our little lungs could muster… 

"Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell"

On my walk yesterday, I spotted an abundance of sloe fruits and I’ll be returning with pot in hand to gather a good few handfuls for my Christmas sloe gin. I’m mixing it up this year with my go-to recipe and the addition of the warm spices of our Cleanse blend of cinnamon, ginger, cocoa beans, cardamom, dates and black pepper.

And if I spot any remaining blackberries to go with the cooking apples delivered in this week’s veg box, it will be blackberry and apple crumble for tea!