Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Summer will pass but not before we sing

It's summer, or at least that's what it says on the packet. We have set aside the big (but just a little crazed and chipped) old mug and replaced it with an elegant, slender-stemmed glass. And filled it with sparkling bubbles dancing in a tartly sweet liquid. No more the thick, pleasing gunk that went in that mug, that can wait now, wait until the nights close in again.

It's summer, I know this as the swallows skim across the surface of the canal their metal blue backs catching the sun as it cracks between the tall trees on the bank. So I put down the solid, heavy-bottomed, tight-lidded casserole and drag, from the furthest recess of the cupboard, the big old wooden salad bowl. No more dark, rich stew of oxtail, mutton or game birds. Instead there's delicate spring lamb, just grilled, fresh sparrow's grass and salads of newly grown herbs, little green onions, juicy peppers and lettuce - crunchy yes but just a little bitter.

It's summer and men in white bestride the fields. A little green and red mars the whites, not like times before when the mud and clay caked knees, socks and boots. The games last a little longer, often ending in a draw. But this matters not as in this season we are less hurried, no longer frantic in our chasing of goals but happy to watch wait, to take our time at the task in hand.

It's summer and the old spirits - the gods of wood, hedge, moor and marsh - are about. Not crashing and bashing like the guardians of rain and wind but gentle, relaxed and smiling. Pleased to watch as the season's good things grow, as they mature. As nature's magic works its way into our pleased hearts to make us smile and laugh - helped as ever by the sparkles in that glass.

Soon, too soon, summer will pass. The cocoa mug will be on the kitchen table again. And we'll wonder if the dark drear of winter will ever pass. But for now we have joy and can feel summer's magic make us sing.


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