Saturday, September 23, 2006

Autumn Equinox Red

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

This is the day of the autumn equinox, one of the two days in the whole turning year when day and night are balanced and equal in length. From now until Yuletide, on or around December 21, the light will wane and days will rapidly grow shorter, at least for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere. Our equinox is a wet one this year as it was last year and the year before that according to my journals.

These Virgina Creepers grow in abundance at the edge of the forest on our property in Lanark, and they wind their way exuberantly around (and up) the woodland trees with their small forked tendrils tipped with obdurately clinging adhesive fingers. Although its small greenish springtime flowers are singularly uninspiring, the leaves of this prolific climber turn brilliant red around the time of the autumn equinox, and the vine has always been one of my markers of both the equinox and the season.

The dark blue berries of the Virginia Creeper contain oxalic acid which is poisonous to humans and most other mammals, but wild birds love them as they are an important source of nourishment in autumn and winter. This week, the creepers at the Two Hundred Acre Wood are full of feasting birds.

A very happy Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, Alban Elfed or Winter Finding to you.


Anonymous said...

A very happy Autumn Equinox to you as well. Beautiful bright reds, lovely...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerrdelune,

Thank you for this post. I've been so caught up in hating my job that I lost track of my nature journal! Your post teaches me the name of yet another plant.

Awareness is the gift that your plant in my life.

Indeed this is a significant set of days. In my house we are marking the beginning of Ramadan and the onset of Roshashona.

Maya's Granny said...

The colors in this plant are lovely. We are having a rainy equinox, at the end of a rainy, rainy summer. People here are saying things like, "Well, managed to do without summer again this year."

Anonymous said...

Wishing you balance and equilibrium this equinox, my friend.

Lil said...

A ruby red equinox to you Cate!