The cool air carries a thin hint of fennel on this early Autumn morning as I sit outside sipping smoky black coffee. A yellow leaf falls from a birch tree. The church bell chimes in the village. This is the run up to the Equinox, Mabon. On my kitchen table there is a basket of apples waiting to be made into cider. Bread dough is rising (hopefully!) in a bowl near by. I shall forage in the fields today gathering blackberries, elderberries, hawthorn and rosehips. I know the first two are ready for picking – I hope that there will be enough of the others. The sloes which I also want will be better after the first frost. I plan to make rosehip syrup, elderberry wine, hedgerow jelly.
For this is the time of harvest – the time when the gifts of the Goddess and the Green Man are most in evidence. I don’t need to make these things – it would be easier and possibly cheaper to buy them. The simple act of picking wild fruit, and then preserving them for the cold times ahead, grounds me and draws me closer to my spiritual reality. The jewel coloured wines and jellies will be used as part of my celebrations of the coming year’s turning.
I replenish my coffee cup and linger in the gentle sunlight – joyfully anticipating the feast that I will prepare for my family to mark the coming sabbat. I have been storing the prunings of rosemary and apple wood for a sweet scented fire – either inside or (preferably) out. I will cook vegetables – golden carrots, butternut squashes, earthy mushrooms, emerald greens , pungent onions. There will be the last of the tomato crop, courgettes and sweet peppers. My kitchen will sing with the scents of herbs and spices – basil, mint, coriander, thyme, nutmeg and bay. Plums, apples and pears will harmonise with cinnamon, star anise and cloves. There will be guitars, the piano and the voices of my dear ones.
An abundance of blessings for us all.