Flaming June

The swifts are screaming overhead, swooping and dipping over the houses.  The air pulsates and shimmers with midsummer heat.  All the freshness and newness of spring and early summer is turning into abundance and fecundity.  High summer is a time for dreaming under a tree, for sitting and musing, for making lemonade and staring at the clouds.


I wonder sometimes whether our experience of summer is only partly about the here and now.  It seems to be more about summers long ago, of lost loves and memories of walks over hills and downs, of views from cliffs and through shady woodlands.  Many summers exist in our memories and the warmth gently releases them.  Maybe future summers will bring such warm and happy memories again.

That sense of looking back to a former summertime, has been at foreground of my thoughts lately, especially when I've been reading JL Carr's A Month in the Country.  A sense of melancholy and happiness mingle together as Tom Birkin appears in the village in the summer of 1920, still damaged from war experiences and the break up of his marriage.   Joy and pain are parts of the human experience, and are often so very closely related.  The book uses poetic details of roses in bloom, and the buzz of a field filled with insects to give a sense of hope and light amongst the darkness of Tom's past.
One of the most intriging things in the book is that sense of those fleeting moments that can be remembered but never entirely brought back again.

“And, at such a time, for a few of us there will always be a tugging at the heart—knowing a precious moment had gone and we not there. We can ask and ask but we can’t have again what once seemed ours for ever—the way things looked, that church alone in the fields, a bed on belfry floor, a remembered voice, a loved face. They’ve gone and you can only wait for the pain to pass. ” 

There is never however a feeling that there is no hope.   Hope is still very much part of this story.  We can never go back to that long forgotten summer, but we can look forward to future long days of glorious warmth and light.

"It is now or never; we must snatch at happiness as it flies."


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