Despite the warmer weather we are merely days from December and, even if the temperature is mild, the low winter sun orientates me at the change of season. I love to go out walking on days like these when the sun gleams through the leaves and even the dead stems of roadside plants are lit up with beauty.
The juxtaposition of vibrantly green grass, golden leaves and bare grey/brown branches against a bright blue sky makes for a starkness that is at once deathly and vibrantly alive.
The Burdock seeds catch on my coat and ensure I slow down enough to appreciate their perfect form and subtle beauty. Can you see all the little hooks they use to ensure they are carried near and far? Look a little closer…
Rosehips still bedeck the hedgerows with little flashes of colour whilst Hawthorns are now browning and becoming dull. Their sinewy branches and great thorns look somehow prehistoric and wild as the leaves die back and expose them fully in all their savage beauty.
One of the plants that catches my eye most at this time of year is the wonderfully witchy Black Bryony which winds and twines amongst the branches of other plants. She dangles temptingly juicy red berries like little Christmas ornaments draped through the trees, just ready to seduce the unwary passer by into an eternal sleep. Though it was once used sparingly in herbal medicine, the whole plant is highly poisonous. Maude Grieve tells us, “Death in most painful form is the result of an overdose, while the effect of a small quantity, varying not with the age only, but according to the idiosyncrasies of the patient, leaves little room for determining the limit between safety and destruction.”
And on the subject of Christmas decorations. It’s almost time to hang some mistletoe in our house, just to ensure a maximum number of kisses throughout the month of December!