Summer time in all its fun and glory is a time when everyone should be happy or at least happier… right? Not always as far as I’m concerned; there’s an edginess to it that is hard to explain about summer, and I know I’m not alone in having some deeply challenging feelings in the summer season.
There’s many who share in this. It’s not that I don’t love the sun and warmth and I especially love the long summer evenings when it hardly seems to get dark at all… but once the Solstice is over I can’t help but feel a disquieting, persistent thought that nips at my heels reminding me that the summer isn’t going to last; that it’s all going to be over and everything will dies. I almost dread the first signs of the leaves turning in August, and yet I love the autumn.
Then there’s another part that feels even crueller; the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams.
As summer reaches its fullness, the bounty can be hard to bear reminding me where I haven’t made the most of something, where I haven’t bloomed, or where my field of crops have wasted in the field due to lack of care or because of something beyond my control. I’m speaking metaphorically here as I don’t actually have a field of crops… Yes, there’s a sense of panic I associate with summer that worries me about not making the most of it, that circumstance will conspire not to be favourable.
Summer can be an incredibly lonely time as the contrast of everyone having fun together can be unbearable if you don’t have anyone to share or celebrate the sunny days with too.
For me there’s something very uncomfortable in the sheer excessive fecundity of plant growth in the summer – and yet there’s another paradox here because I love nature, I love plants, I love trees and have done all my life. But I can have a somewhat oppressive experience driving along the roads here in West Cork when the verges or hedges are so overgrown that I sometimes feel it’s just too much growth … and it’s the same with the wild growth on the bank at the back of my house here – at times it feels like it’s going to smother me and I have a powerful urge to get the choppers out and cut it back as vigorously as it’s grown. On the occasions when I’ve done exactly that I get a clear sense of relief, similar to that after a big decluttering or clean out. Or the sensation of clarity and weight-off feeling after getting an over-due haircut. At times, my desire for order brings to mind the awful character of Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter as she shrieks “I WILL HAVE ORDER!!!” – hmmm… it does resonate somewhat. Except I don’t think I’m psychotic which she most definitely is. (Link for the Dolores Umbridge clip!)
There was a time as a child when the summer seemed to stretch out before me with no end in sight. It was full of delights on a daily basis. Where did that go to? How did it come to be that I lost the sense of fun and joyful play? Because something changed inside of me and I started to become aware of restriction. I began to think in terms of “not enough”… the school holidays were no longer long enough despite the fact that they were exactly the same duration and all too soon we’d be back at school – exactly where I didn’t want to be.
The heat sometimes boils over in human consciousness creating discontent as the fire element goes into overdrive and inflammatory situations occur. A summer of discontent…
Winter is generally thought of as the season of death and dying, but as it’s polar opposite, so must summer signify death and ending just as much as winter does. All part of the wildness of nature that is so far beyond the control of any human yet is who we are too.
This year the summer has been the hardest of all summers. The hardest of all times in fact. Something in my life has come to an end and I’m sitting in gentle contemplation with it all as summer passes into its decline.
And when I’m not sitting quietly with it I dance and sing…usually to this song. I’d love if you joined me:
Nina Simone-Ain’t Got No, I Got Life (Click for Youtube video)
I ain’t got no home, ain’t got no shoes
Ain’t got no money, Ain’t got no class
Ain’t got no skirts, Ain’t got no sweater
Ain’t got no perfume Ain’t got no bed
Ain’t got no mind,
Ain’t got no mother Ain’t got no culture
Ain’t got no friends, aint got no schoolin’
Ain’t got no love, Ain’t got no name
Ain’t got no ticket, Ain’t got no token
Ain’t got no god
and what have i got?
why am i alive anyway?
yeah what have i got?
nobody can take away?…
Got my hair. Got my head
Got my brains, Got my ears
Got my eyes, Got my nose
Got my mouth, I got my smile
I got my tongue, Got my chin
Got my neck, Got my boobies
Got my heart, Got my soul
Got my back, I got my sex
I got my arms, got my hands, got my fingers,
got my legs, got my feet, got my toes,
got my liver, got my blood..
I’ve got life,
i’ve got my freedom
i’ve got life
I’ve got life
and I am gonna keep it
I’ve got life
and nobody’s gonna take it away
I’ve got life!