The Great British Summer: A Prelude

Posted: May 26, 2010 in Living, Nature

Originally in my Wiltshire Blog

What promise fills us with as much anticipation as The Great British Summer?

For the past few days, a prelude to The Great British Summer has been playing in our country’s towns and villages.

Like every year, the prelude threatens to be greater than the main piece it introduces. It comes upon us suddenly, unabashedly making its presence felt.

For some, this sudden burst of summer is the equivalent of a near-death experience. Suddenly everything is alive; the earth, the sky, the plants. Everything swells with existence.

After all that waiting, after the long winter and the hit and miss spring, summer has finally arrived.

There are few places in the world that feel such great anticipation. In more southerly climes the people are guaranteed a hot summer. It comes without fail and is as much an annoyance as a blessing.

For our islands however, summer is synonymous with hope. We hope for a good summer like a drought-stricken region hopes for rain. For us, it is as necessary for survival as the water that falls from the sky.

Summer is a time for living out the dreams that spring provides us. It is a time for living spontaneously, for seizing the moment of sunshine while it lasts.

Perhaps the reason why many of us think about summer in such romantic terms is because we continue to see summer through the eyes of our childhood.

There is no other period in our lives when summer is filled with such mythical greatness.

Think back to your school days, sitting in a hot and sticky classroom waiting for the term to end and the holiday to begin.

More can be learned in six weeks of summer than in a whole year at school. If resourceful, children can learn how to amuse themselves. If cowardly, they can learn how to be brave. If bored, they can learn how to be adventurous. And so on.

Whether we actually do this in our childhood is questionable. I’m sure many of us spent half of our summer playing Nintendo indoors; I know I did. Few of us are brave enough as kids to be like Huck Finn and live summer to its fullest, even at risk of death.

But that doesn’t really matter, in the end. It’s never too late to enjoy summer.

Relive your childhood memories this year, even if they never happened. Build a raft and paddle it to Bristol, sell lemonade and buy a raft that doesn’t leak.

Light out for the Territory, while the sun is still hot in the sky.

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