They’ve made it again,
Which means the globe’s still working, the Creation’s
Still waking refreshed, our summer’s
Still all to come – Swifts, by Ted Hughes
The British psyche is closely related to weather. Other places are easily warm and blue, a few always icy, but Britain is fickle with a trend towards grey. If you think of those days when the sun shines after weeks of gloom, extrapolate the idea, then it’s obvious. We’re happy and smiley but not the rest of the time. Certainly I’m not.
Last winter was hell-like, lockdown made worse with the skies. Dark, wet, cold, repeat and repeat again. No birds, flowers, sunshine or walks. Or rather I did walk, but as gym-like exercise more than outdoor pleasure. When it was dark at a miserable four I sat in my car reading and writing. Tent-like, protected when it rained, consoled, a few times, when an owl sang from a tree at seven fifteen. I wondered about Mary Oliver’s shamanic sensitivity and how she found the woods a healing resource. I imagined the dark trees as a living presence and talked with them, unmoved as they were by pandemic horrors. Don’t unweave the rainbow said John Keats and poets, among others, weave it together again and provide us with clues.
Each month has a different feeling. Highly subjective, yours won’t be mine, but with some commonality. January and February cold, dark, unpleasant. March is promising as the days lengthen and wild flowers appear. April, lovely, fresh, green and spring, although T.S. Eliot was partly correct saying it was the “cruellest.” It’s not always good weather when we most need it and British spring this year was awful. May is consolidated spring, often delightful, but not this year until the end of it.
June has both the longest and shortest days of the year. In the northern hemisphere the 21st is the longest, in the southern hemisphere it’s the shortest. The first day of British summer is said to be the 21st but summer rises and falls, not starts at the daylight peak.
The weather year is different now, characterised with worldwide extremes. We tend to have a good spring in Britain followed with a dreary summer. The 2018 summer was exceptional. The 2019 was bad, spring 2020 like early summer, the rest of the year bad. I feel August is the month of greatest warmth, but as more school holiday memory than statistical fact. It means however June is a time of warming rather than blasting heat. Spring is still there, not gone entirely, and hope points towards summer.
I don’t like all months and November is my worst when the curtains close on daylight. I like it from March (just) April (definitely) into September and October (if there’s sunshine). June is a vital month, daylight is back, more of it coming. Now it’s consolingly warm as this dreadful virus is receding. Maybe, maybe, this is the end of it, starting here in beautiful June.
I write like this is a magazine column. With research, references, and a lot of time. If you like it, perhaps you would support me.