Thursday 19 October 2017

Summer is shifting, like the sands of time

'So best take your cue from the feverish farmers whose tractors trundle back and forth over the bridge from dawn to dusk these days, and make hay while the sun shines'
'So best take your cue from the feverish farmers whose tractors trundle back and forth over the bridge from dawn to dusk these days, and make hay while the sun shines'

Fiona O'Connell

This new month finds the countryside still in full bloom, with the fields and virgin forests surrounding this country town proving the '40 shades of green' claim not only true but, indeed, maybe underestimating the number. The resemblance of some pastoral parts to tropical rainforests owes much to the humidity, sudden rain showers and all too short splashes of sunshine of this summer's somewhat mixed bag.

But less than lovely or not, the arrival of August means that summer is simmering down and autumn is fast approaching. As the blonde bombshell butcher reminded me when I was buying Deputy Dawg's dinner recently, and she remarked that the evenings were beginning to draw in.

I admit that I hadn't noticed, but plenty of other locals agreed with her less than optimistic observation. Proving that even if it's too nippy for a seaside dip, we can still put our head in the rain-sodden sand when it comes to seeing only what we want to see.

For open your eyes and you quickly realise that the signs of shifting seasons are everywhere. Apples are budding on 100-year-old trees up the hill, and the horse chestnuts are well on their way to producing shiny brown conkers. While a glance at the window display of uniforms in Woods on Main Street confirms that both the new school year and the darkening cold are creeping closer.

So best take your cue from the feverish farmers whose tractors trundle back and forth over the bridge from dawn to dusk these days, and make hay while the sun shines. Though not by rolling up your sleeves to get stuck into another important project, but by rolling down your car window or indeed pulling over altogether to smell those roses that are in ridiculous abundance wherever you go, spilling over the fences and crumbling stone walls of country cottages to carpet the grass beneath with cerise-pink petals.

Because not only will this summer swiftly pass, but as those studies of the dying poignantly point out, who knows how many we have left? Yet most of us tend to live as if, like those 40 shades of green, we have an infinite number to savour.

For all too often, it's only when we lose someone - or else our health - that the wistful words of those soon to be departed remind us of the regrets that we might one day harbour. They express the same sentiments over and over: how they wish they had stayed in touch with friends. Or lived the life they wanted, rather than the one they felt was expected of them. And nowadays, it's not only men who regret having worked too hard.

Above all, they mourn the lack of courage to have let themselves be happier.

So make August a wickedly wonderful month. And you'll live wisely - whatever the weather.

Sunday Independent

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