Summer weather…

fog and roses 003

August tomorrow… high summer… when the rush-hour traffic melts away and the roads are driveable, even at eight in the morning. A time of beaches and sandcastles, of ice-cream and strawberries. Of flowerbeds that are a carnival of colour… of sunshine and suntans… Or, in England… fog, rain and plunging temperatures.

Opening the curtains this morning was a waste of time. It didn’t get any lighter, and one look outside was enough to realise that it probably wouldn’t. The dog eyed the rain that battered the roses and went back to bed with a look of disgust. I couldn’t blame her… but like it or not she needed a walk before I left for work. We agreed… eventually… that we would indeed venture beyond the threshold, but Ani displayed none of her usual enthusiasm. To Ani, water should be confined to the pools and streams where she can get a mud bath.

If there is one thing we are good at in England it is weather. The variations we manage are quite stunning. Yesterday I came home beetroot red, in spite of long sleeves and soft cotton. Today, I am thinking seriously about putting the heating on to dispel some of the mouldering and all-pervading dampness that seems to have settled on every surface. I am cold, my bones ache and it feels like December… except that winter is just as likely to be mild and sunny…

I have to wonder though. Is it summer? Or is that just an arbitrary division of the year to which we doggedly hold, bound in place by our ideas of family holidays and the closure of the schools? The earth seems to think otherwise. Technically, I suppose it is, but we are, after all, already closer to the autumnal equinox than summer solstice. The harvest is being gathered, bales of gold dot the fields, there are ripe blackberries on the brambles and many flowers have already set seed.

Maybe it is a question of semantics and association. Speak of summer and the mind wanders to balmy days, leisure and laughter. It is our image, based on the memories that spring to the surface when we say the word… yet time does not stand still and summer melds imperceptibly with autumn, just as it had melted from spring for one brief burst of glory.

We like to have things neat and tidy in our minds and speak of the ‘first day of summertime’ as if the seasons will change at our instigation, or at least with some modicum of punctuality, when in fact there is no immediate transformation, more a gradual blurring as the seasons flow, one into another. I think it may be because Nature is beyond our control that we seek to cage her with our definitions and timescales. No matter how we manipulate genetic coding, defy medical conditions or learn to use the forces of the natural world, we are, at some level, conscious that Mother Nature still looks on with maternal indulgence at our meagre efforts to harness natural laws and bring them to our service.

We can delay, but cannot conquer, death. We can fertilise an embryo in a Petrie dish… but can we actually give it life when we cannot even adequately define it? Or are we merely taking the raw materials that Nature has given us to form a vessel, in the same way that the potter takes clay and water to shape a cup to hold the wine?

As to the weather… we have no chance. Ask an Englishman…

31 thoughts on “Summer weather…

  1. I really love that this gives me a lot of food for thought. I love that we are learning to question things we have held as “truth” or perhaps “the way it is” as if somehow that settles it all. It is good to question and re-examine what we know or think we know, or to look at it from different angles and see if perhaps there is something we never saw before. Anyway, this is so perfect, especially right now when summer is upon us and I know here in the U.S. I have accepted many things about seasons and about the universe and the planets and energies and so many things that now I truly wonder about and am enjoying seeing them again as if for the first time. So much to re-examine. Thank you so kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am at the stage in life where I no longer rely on anything. Each day, good or bad, is a new adventure, liable to change in the blink of an eye. Sometimes I wonder if I should always have been like this, for it sure makes life easier!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, as ever, for such effortless (?) writing, Sue. Beautiful. Mother Nature is full of surprises and seems to delight or dismay almost on a pin-head. We retired to Spain because of her fickle ways, and now they are more fickle than ever! Cheers. x (Thanks too Jenanita!) x


  4. Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    This is beautiful!
    Paints an excellent picture and I’m transported there.
    I can feel the sting on my skin of the sunburn. Shiver at the thought of the foggy rain. Wonder at the sudden change in weather, and long to visit mighty old England for myself.
    Click on over and enjoy this grand post and you too will be swept away.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The way we divide up our years is a myatery to me. Why do we start the year when we do. January 1 is nothing special. It’s not the winter solstice. That I couls understand. This is the day when the hours of daylight begin to increase. I could understand the spring equinox, when the spring flowers begin to show, and the animals and birds are having their young. But January 1? Why?
    Similarly the days. Who decided to begin the new day in the middle of the night? Dawn would be much more logical.
    Anyway, I think we consider August to be high summer because that’s when we were free of school, and we went on holiday to the seaside; in spite of the dodgy weather and the fact that, historically, June and July have better weather.


    1. We have to blame the Gregorian calendar for that… and although there were good reasons for implementing the change of calendar, the seasonal attributions have always seemed a tad arbitrary and to disregard the natural rhytm of the seasons.
      As far as starting the new day at midnight, though, I can understand that one… all births begin in darkness and take a while to unfold.


  6. Loved this post Sue! It made me smile remembering English weather and the umbrella that became an appendage rather than an accessory! 🙂 Yes, we cannot change Nature, but we can certainly annoy her with our disregard for the planet.


  7. There is no doubt when it is summer in North Carolina. Fall-winter-spring is malleable.
    I do remember being in Edinburgh, where the weather seems to change every 15 minutes!
    Attempting to send you some of our warmth!


    The seasons can trick and beguile us,
    false messengers confuse…
    while we impatiently await
    summer’s menu to peruse.

    Hors d’oeuvres of fluffy clouds, blue sky
    augers well, until
    the main course comes at last
    and its icy blast we feel.

    For pudding, jewel pansies,
    but alas they struggle, tossed, wind-blown,
    while laden branches genuflect –
    summer still is far from home.

    At last! Wind chimes orchestrate the moment,
    sweet honeysuckle scents the air,
    soft breezes sough in the plane tree’s branches,
    Summer is EVERYWHERE,

    Joy x


  9. In this particular thing, I follow the earth. A cold spring is still spring, even if the mice are still trying to get inside and out of the chilly rain. Of course, weather is changing so perhaps we know less about the earth than we thought we knew. We had such a long, cold, nasty spring … and now we have had the hottest July in our weather records. New England is very like Old England in this respect. We get weather. A bit more extreme than yours, but not dissimilar.

    If we don’t do whatever we need to do to fix as much of the earth as we can, I have no idea what we should expect. So far, we are still getting four seasons, albeit unreasonable amounts of rain or heat or wind. And this is just the beginning.


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