Rosehips are bright red and tender, their skin soft like a ninety-year-old woman’s cheek on the first day of sunshine. I touch them to check — yes, they squash easily between my fingers. Half a kilo picked from the park and the neighbour’s front garden, ripe and ready to turn into a sweet and sour syrup to enrich my strong black tea on winter mornings.
Boiling, they smell of pure vitamin C: health, goodness, vitality. I know that sugar will ruin it somewhat but it needs to be a syrup. An autumn staple. A taste of safety and familiarity. Comfort food. Another jar of home-made treasures, alongside apple, courgette and turmeric jam, hops and cider vinegar mixture for a good night sleep, comfrey with jojoba oil for sprains and bruises and a row of dried herbs: sage, thyme, mint, tilia flower, lemon verbena.
touch it and it bursts
red juice on your fingertips -
it’s a long way home