What a time we have had. Two months? Three months? Day after day of sunshine until it’s coming out of our faces in smiles, styles and body parts we never dared to expose before. Temperatures soaring above 25 degrees Celsius. Is this London? We were grateful enough for Spring, our hero come to save us from the drudging, wet, long winter. I welcomed the smell of ‘alive things’ in the air. And the light! What a joy, to see the days lengthened. It was like spotting a long lost loved one in the distance, slowly approaching. I missed this most of all, for all my brave talk of ‘cosy winters’ and ‘magical twilight’. I love the bright light more. Much, much more.
Day after day we watched to see how good it could get. Cautious at first. Like testing each step on a newly frozen lake. Not wanting to be caught out. Take a brolly and cardi for insurance. Never mind those conspiring diviners on the television, telling us there will be no rain today. Yet, it became very clear that somehow the summer found us. Wrapped us in it’s charm and twirled us around in a dizzying dance.
“Oh, it’s too hot” was the new catchphrase after a month of it. Of course. This isn’t a beach holiday in Greece or Tunis, you know, where shorts and any old holey top will do. How will respectable people cope? How will the ever-scampering-about, deadline-chasing, squashed-in-public-places-and-transport Londoner bear it? Don’t they know we have to work? (Whoever ‘they’ are).
Try not to follow the crowd and jinx it. Try to soak it all up and say thank you. D is for happy and strong. Vitamin D, that is. I found out the hard way. I know how much I waited for the warmer months. So much that I dared not think of them from September to March. Maybe even April. I didn’t even say goodbye when the Fall started. I don’t like goodbyes.
So now, the chill has come back. Softly, softly, creeping in and watching us as we sleep (better now that the heat is off). It lingers longer after dawn’s early light. House and street lights are coming on a bit earlier in the evenings. Dreams of a splendidly comfortable and warm onsie to be had causes pleasant anticipation and almost fully suppresses the envious bile that rises at the thought of the animals that get to hibernate in a month or two.
Even now, as I write, I feel the blanket that calms the pace of life, heartbeat and breath, move in closer. Only by a hair’s breadth but enough to notice and make my words sit languidly and prosaic, despite the random changes in perspective. Yes, we will still have a few days of above-20 weather but something has changed.
Normally, this change would fill me with as much dread as is felt by the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros concerning their winters. Not this time. This time, the change is welcome. Because I have had enough. Of Summer. Not for being fed up or not wanting it anymore. But I have had enough to work with. Learnt enough to cope better. Been frantically summery outdoors enough. Grateful enough for an uncommonly summery summer in London (and indeed other parts of the UK). Done enough in that phase to welcome something new and say of Life and nature; ‘More! Show us what else you got!”