Solstice summer

21 Jun

If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen my love-hate-fear-despair relationship with the sun here in England.  The days of darkness haunt me.  When we first arrived here in Camelot, the sun was stunning, the air was warm and dry, the trees waved gently overhead — it was gorgeous and summer was going to be endless.

Then we came to November, December, January, February, March, April, May, and June.  Dark.  Cold.  Rainy.  Grey.  Forever.  Even as the days grew longer, they stayed cold!  They stayed grey!  How is this possible?

Although it wakes me up and gives me no peace, I have to soak up the sun whenever it appears — even at 4:30 am:

Five am in June is brighter than 10am in December.  I may be exaggerating — but only a very little — I have been trying to block those dark days from my memory.

Yesterday was the longest day of the year — the day we’ll see the most sun — a whopping 16 hours and 44 minutes of daylight. And in a welcome change from most days this June, it was warm and bright and sunny.  I walked outside; I wandered; I even got a little sunburn.  But in the back of my mind I couldn’t shake the dreadful feeling that from here on, it’s all downhill.  The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer until they almost cover the day.  Here in the middle of summer, the memory and the promise: winter is coming.

And so for no reason but a bit of romantic sadness (and maybe because he made his home on the Isle of Wight) I have Tennyson running through my head this week.

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes dying, dying, dying.

O love they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field, or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

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8 Responses to “Solstice summer”

  1. Jody June 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    And then there are times we, in the American Southwest, can’t pray for rain enough! On our recent trip through Arizona, there were days when we didn’t spot a cloud in the sky. Come and get it! 😉 We have plenty to share.

    • Monique June 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      But it’s a dry heat, right? I’ve done my time driving across the southwest in a car with no air conditioning. Not sure where the perfect temperature is to be found … Fiji??

  2. Zazzy June 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Did I ever tell you – and it wouldn’t surprise me if I’m repeating myself – that I interviewed for a job in Alaska? It wasn’t just how remote the job would have been that made me question it, it was the 24 hour dark of winter that worried me. We’re lucky down here to have mostly mild winters with plenty of sunshine. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may – and enjoy your summer.

    • Monique June 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      No joke: I am researching which SAD lamp to set up at my desk this winter. Which will begin in just a few weeks, apparently, if it ever ended in the first place. lol

  3. Sarah June 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Brighter at 5am in June AND at 11pm than 10am in December – you are NOT exaggerating. And that cold in June thing – that was actually getting to me.

    • Monique June 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      How I wish that were only a nightmare. Thank you for confirming the cold, dark reality. And, erm, can you recommend a SAD lamp??

  4. Tesni June 22, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Feeling totally jealous that you had a lovely sunny day yesterday. Here in the southwest it poured it down all day. Torrential rain and windy. Horrid! Though it was lovely a day before so perhaps we’re a day ahead in weather terms.

    Getting mighty sick of the grey now too. May/June are usually the good months, because for the last 6 years when I’ve had exams to revise for in May, it has been baking hot, then the moment the exams finish the weather turns disgusting. This year- it was miserable outside whilst I was revising, and the sun popped its head out for 5 days the day I finished my exams and hasn’t really been seen since in a decent capacity.

    Come on British summer! Give us some sun! PLEASE

    • Monique June 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      Since I’ve never experienced a British summer I just can’t figure out what my expectations ought to be. It is good to hear that this is truly colder/darker than usual …

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