Walking the Delinquent Dog this morning, I was struck by the feeling that we are reaching the peak of the summer, moving towards the tipping point, where the strong pulsing energy of late spring and early summer finally flips over into the languid pause of August and begins to be absorbed quietly back into the land.

The bracken, which not so many weeks ago I swear you could almost see growing as you stood to watch, towers over me now, but it’s stopped getting taller. Now it stands, erect and still very green, but the energy that shot it upwards has ceased. It seems happy just to wait.

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Along the edge of the lane, colours are subtly changing. None of the gold and oranges of autumn yet, but look closely and notice the grasses, bleached pale blonde by the recent heat. In the hedgerow, the white elderflowers have gone, their stalks begin to turn reddy purple, the few remaining flowers are brown. The cow parsley that made the lane look as if it wore a fluffy lace collar, has now turned to rust and bends down as it dies.

In the fields, the grasses have been cut and baled, some are still there, drying in the sunshine, waiting to be collected. The crows are happy, hopping noisily amongst the bales and taking off when the red kites come gliding over them.

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In the wood, the horse-chestnut trees are showing tiny, prickly, conker buds, although many fall in the thundery rainstorms. The brambles and nettles have climbed all over the paths, making it difficult to follow some of our winter routes, forcing us to choose our steps carefully.

Summer is not my favourite season. I find the heat uncomfortable, I’m fair-skinned and blonde-haired, and burn in minutes, so forays outside have to be early or late. But since we’ve had the Delinquent Dog, I’ve begun to appreciate this time of year, it seems to be saying slow down, wait, stop – which of course is what so many of us do. Nature works in cycles, and we are part of nature, so it’s natural for us to be tuned-in to this seasonal round. It’s not surprising that we want to slow down for a while.

It makes me wonder how people who work especially hard at this time of year manage to do it – I’m just extremely glad not to have to.

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18 thoughts on “Summer…

  1. It has been meltingly hot here for days. Little rain too, and the garden is as dry as dust. Remind me when I complain about the cold 😉

    1. Oh yes, I love the way we’re somehow never satisfied. In the spring I had to redo a large part of my garden (long story) – but having planted so many new plants – including trees! I’ve been religious about going out and watering every day, otherwise by now our garden would be arid desert too…

    1. Thank you. I’ve never lived near to the sea, and so I wonder if it feels different if you’re closer to the coast?

    1. It fascinates me, to appreciate how connected we still are to the changes in the seasons – how the change in energy affects us too.

  2. Around here, the lack of rain coupled with the heat has flipped the fields a little early and the wheat is already turning colour. I used to love the slowdown of the school summer holidays but with no schoolchildren any longer I seem to miss the cue.

    1. I get the impression that this year, differences in rain/sun have really resulted in quite a variation across the country. Nothing around here looking vaguely ripe just yet, but it’s amazing how quickly it changes. I wondered myself if I’m partly tuned-in to the academic calendar, but I think/hope it goes deeper – time no doubt, will tell.

    1. Do you know, the thing that made the most impact on me when I started photographing the oak last year, was the difference and variation in light, it really wasn’t until I was out there taking an interest every day that I appreciated what an effect light has. It must have been much more obvious to our ancestors in the days before electric lighting and warm cosy houses.

  3. A lovely post, Anny, like a walking meditation. I agree with your sympathy for workers in summer heat. Animals, too – when you think how birds and any other animals must survive through such a range of temperatures, it’s incredible.

  4. What a lovely post. Like you I find summer difficult at first, not being too fond of heat and never sitting in the sun, but then find myself slipping into it and appreciating its brief magic. And also like you, I’m very happy I don’t have to commute as I did in the past, as working from home means you can pace yourself which is great on hot days.

    1. Thanks Stephanie, that’s very kind. It really is one of the perks of working from home isn’t it, I must admit, I’d really struggle to go back to the old commuting way of life. The part of summer I do enjoy is the time when I get to paddle in the sea – which living so far from the coast is pretty much a rare occasion. We’re off to Scotland in August, and paddling is top of my agenda!

  5. I’m another who often endures rather than enjoys summer. I can’t help but wonder though, as I look out on another cool, damp day, if this year we’ll all end up feeling as if summer was one hot day in July. That or August will bring a late heatwave and we’ll all melt.

    1. I think we may have had a slightly better time of it over here so far – although today is dreadful! Please pray for a good August – we’re off to the Highlands, camping!

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