Monthly Musing – August 2019 – Late summer
I’m watching the house martins on the electricity wires by our house. They visit every year, at first just one or two, and by the end of the summer there is a whole flock of them – over thirty as best as I could count this morning. They line up, chattering loudly, then suddenly they all fly into the air, swooping around and then rearrange themselves on the wires, as if to change conversational partners. They have so much to say, and they are very noisy! I love this time of year when I can hear them all from early in the morning, and it always makes me a little sad when, one day, they have all gone without warning, flying off to sunny climes for the winter. It’s usually about the same time that small daughter goes back to school, when everything feels just that little bit different and there’s a smell in the air that heralds the turn of the season.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this time of year feels like the start of a new year for me, and I’ve written about this before. Despite our reliance on calendars, schedules and routines, I think there is something inside all of us that is still governed by long-distant rhythms connected with the seasons – not necessarily religious in any way – but just part of who we are and how we connect to the earth. The climate might be changing but Nature still dances to the beat of her own drum and as inhabitants of the earth, I think it is impossible for us to ignore this, however much we might try.
Small daughter and I celebrated the start of the “new year” by buying school shoes and a new PE shirt yesterday. In just a few short days, the summer holidays will be over for her and the Autumn term will begin. The nights will start to draw in, the flowers in the garden will fade and the house martins will leave. Our thoughts will start to turn inwards, to what’s going on inside our houses rather how we can spend time outside, and that’s a joy in itself. Every season has something new to offer and something new to look forward to, and knowing that each season will return – never quite the same because that’s how Nature is – but similar enough in pattern for us to sow seeds, to knit socks (I wear mine all year round!) and make plans gives us the security that all is well with our world, although we do still need to make an effort in return and more so these days than ever before.
So, for however long they stay, I’ll enjoy listening to the noisy chatter of the house martins and amuse myself by trying to count them as they whirl around. I’ll watch the farmers baling the hay in the fields close by, reassure the dog as the tractors pass us by on our walks (he’s not keen on those big wheels!), make the most of the late Summer days and remind myself that it’s all as it should be. The house martins will be back before I know it.