I’ll confess: I dislike the summer.
In this, my twenty-eighth, I can finally say that I fail to see the point. Possibly, this is because for me the summer does not mean long, lazy days of inactivity on the beach, nor pleasant sojourns in shade-dappled forest glades. Summer is not when I jet off to foreign parts, to stroll along the quais of Saint-Tropez or to wander contentedly through the sun-warmed cobbled streets of picturesque Tuscan villages.
No. I live and work in a tourist town. Summer, to me, means endless days sweating in a sauna-like kitchen. Summer is when my working day begins before nine in the morning and doesn’t end until eleven in the evening. Summer is when I need a machete to clear my way through the hordes of babbling foreign students at the bus stop. Summer, to me, is not a time of growth, beauty and wonder; but rather of hard work and hardship, the time of scarcity before the harvest. I’ve often wondered if I have some kind of perversely inverted seasonal affective disorder, as most of my major bouts of depression have tended to occur during July and August.
Strangely, as well, during the summer I become less religious. I find it difficult to maintain the motivation for much more than my semi-regular dawn devotionals. At the same time, I find myself drawn more to esoterica: I think about myths and mythic structures, I find myself meditating more frequently. Recently, I’ve even started taking an interest in astrology, to the point of mapping out my own natal chart and attempting to interpret it. (I have a Sagittarius ascendant, with Jupiter in Sagittarius. Apparently this gives me a natural interest in religion. Who knew?) Perhaps this is because I find myself with little energy in my spare time, what with it all being expended at work, and so the “active” portions of my life tend to go on the back burner.
I much prefer spring and autumn. Autumn is when the harvest has been gathered in, both literally and metaphorically: it’s a time of plenty, when one can look back with satisfaction on a time of back-breaking work and think “thank fuck that’s all over,” and get on with the serious business of enjoying the fruits of one’s labours. Paradoxically, autumn to me also means the beginning of something new: perhaps this is a relic of my academic past, but I’ve always been comfortable with autumn being considered the start of the new year. So, while autumn marks an ending, it also shines with potential: for me, the “feel” of autumn is a combination of hope and melancholy which I’ve always felt to be my native emotional state. Spring, on the other hand, is a wonderful time, full of beauty and promise. As I have remarked before, it’s the time of year before everything goes to shit.
Nevertheless, we’ve passed the solstice, and the fire-wheel is now rolling downhill. It’ll all soon be over and September with its cool breezes will soon be upon us. Happy summer holidays everyone!