Updated: Sep 22
This weekend (Saturday 23rd September) is the autumn equinox and the start of astronomical autumn. Despite the late sun and the warm days, it's beginning to look a lot like autumn too. Soon it will be impossible to avoid the fact that we've hit autumn top trumps: meteorological, astronomical and phenological. That last one is when you know it's autumn because of the berries on the trees, the conkers on the ground and the colours of the leaves.
I've been harvesting the fruits of autumn, with my pockets now full of acorns as well as conkers. This year I promise they'll make it into pots and I will grow some more trees. Obviously much of what we focus on here is our own personal nature connection but in today's blog I can report on a real live harvest that has been happening in Cambuslang and Rutherglen.
Over the last year Greening CamGlen have been involved in a project that has finally reached its pinnacle. Soil to Slice is an exciting programme from Scotland the Bread that encourages communities throughout Scotland to get involved in growing, harvesting, threshing, milling and baking. Over the last few months several groups from the Greening CamGlen network have been involved in growing wheat in their flowerbeds and planters. That wheat has now been harvested - so when I say it's harvest time, I really mean it! It has been a delight to be on the mailing list for this project, as everyone learnt about wheat growing by actually doing it. My highlight was the most recent email detailing how to thresh your wheat using a pillowcase. Possibly a contender for the most exciting work email ever received. In a couple of weeks, Grow73 will be hosting our bread festival, where the rest of the wheat will be threshed, then milled and finally made into bread. We're very excited about it and hope to spread the word about wheat more widely. If your group might want to be involved next year, get in touch! Despite knowing that buying a loaf of bread from the supermarket is ridiculously easy, I don't think any of us had really thought about just how much is involved in making bread - even those of us who make bread regularly. The process starts way before that bag of flour in the cupboard.
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival starts on the 4th October with the theme of Revolution, and you can join us on a revolutionary trail. We've organised a series of gentle circular walks in parks and local nature reserves all with a creative revolutionary edge. Our first walk will be taking place in Overtoun Park in Rutherglen on Thursday 6th October, when we'll be moving in nature. Zoe Brook, the dramatherapist from Bazooka Arts will be encouraging us to let the drama of the great outdoors inspire our movement, mood and imagination. She will share the techniques of Michael Chekhov which can be used in every day life to lift your mood and boost your confidence. It sounds intriguing, if a little nerve wracking but I look forward to the experience.
The following day, come for a slightly unorthodox walk at Fernbrae Meadows. We'll be celebrating circles, getting a different perspective through the standing stones and slowing down as we walk through a grassy labyrinth. The path through a labyrinth is simple, just one way in and one way out, unlike a maze where you can get lost, which is why people often use them as an aid to meditation. We think it's going to be a challenge to create the labyrinth, but we're looking forward to giving it a go. Come and join us on Friday 5th October to see how we got on!
Out in the woods at Westburn Marsh the following week we'll be encouraging you to collect some autumn treasures and make some art - perhaps an autumn mandala like this or by taking autumn home with you in a wee tin to treasure. We'll also be visiting Holmhills Park and Calderglen Country Park in the final week of the festival. Keep your eyes on our social media channels for more information about times and meeting places. We'd love to see you there.
In the meantime, celebrate the autumn equinox this weekend - unless you're in the southern hemisphere in which case, celebrate Spring! The equinox is that time where day and night are of equal lengths - the world is in balance - although it doesn't always feel like it. The last supermoon of the year is the harvest moon on the night of 28th September, and if we're lucky with a clear night we'll be able to see a bigger and brighter full moon - useful when you needed the light to aid bringing in the harvest! I was cheered when I went out to try and see the blue moon in August to find a gathering of other moon watchers on a local hill and encourage you to give it a go! I know I say it a lot, but there really is always something to celebrate in nature; and with that, I'm off to see if I can gather some more acorns