... in the hawthorn

Published on 19 Sep 2020
Hawthorn berries

It has been a memorable year, and it isn't over yet! Rarely have our shared experiences been so in tune with each other, albeit also so subjective. One of my prevailing memories will be of the warm, dry and sunny months of the (first?) lockdown, particularly of seeing the blackthorn and hawthorn in bloom. The green of the new leaves and the white of their blossom seemed particularly intense this year. 

Now in early autumn, the red of the hawthorn berries is extraordinary. I assume that the hot spring weather contributed to a particularly good crop of hawthorn this September. Or perhaps the way I see nature has changed too? I had learned to turn aside and glance at the hawthorn when it bloomed in late spring, and now I turn at the same point to glance at its berries. 

The redness of the berries perhaps inevitably reminds me of the red of Passiontide and of blood, while the white reminded me of Easter, baptism and resurrection. As the possibility of another lockdown or 'second wave' comes closer (not forgetting that some places are already in local lockdown), the hawthorn berries are a reminder to recall the consolation during the first lockdown and what helped get us through. Though bad times may lie ahead, I will try to recall what we learned the first time.