Summer is the season of the body. Where each day turns on the temperature, the clouds, the weather.
Plans form and dissolve like thunderclouds swelling above the mountain. I am in charge no longer; my skin, my gut, my feet tell me what to do.
Too hot to think by midday?
Retreat to the river beach. Plunge into green, clean-smelling water, let the current carry me, feel hunger return with the chill. Lie on rugs, eat fruit and salty crisps, repeat…
Do we wake to a cool morning mist, a cloud sunk over us?
My brain will work again, it’s time to move. Tomatoes need staking out in the garden. I can walk down to the edge of the land and check on the tiny, wiry cork oaks I planted months ago. Five of six still going strong; I douse them in water and give thanks.
Is the forecast headed for 35 degrees and upwards?
It’ll be a day of achieving the bare minimum. Doing what I can of the to-do list; leaving the kitchen floor unmopped for another day. Oats are soaked in cold water, summer porridge. Snacks are grapes and plums from the fridge, for at least the solar panels mean electricity is as abundant as sunlight. The blender whirs; I add a squeeze of orange juice to a handful of spinach and call it lunch.
Sinking into summer
One month into summer and I’m starting to embrace what changed since spring.
What felt like slacking off, I now see as perfect slowing down. I remember what I learned years ago about the different energies of each season; how summer, so “yang”, invites us to respond by slowing down to stillness, balancing the fiery outward energy with sluggish pause.
And I am starting to ask myself questions, sometimes uncomfortable ones, about what it is I’m trying to prove with all my activity.
The tasks I berate myself for not doing: writing, publishing, sharing on social media – look like they’re busy. They raise my profile, feed my ego.
But compared to watering my garden, resting my body, learning the names of grasses or tending to the trees I’ve planted… do they really matter at all?
Is it better to slow down, feel my feelings and ask what this land needs of me?
I find that I can’t keep running from one action to the next, or cling to the false sense of security that hope provides. In order to remain true to the convictions of my work as we move further into these ever-darkening times, I must dig deeper.
For me it begins and ends with being connected to the Earth.
– Dahr Jamail, Dancing with grief
So I’m reading about agro-ecology, thinking about the difference I can make on this one small piece of land. How we can cultivate a thriving system of trees and plants and animals; become more self-sufficient.
I’m wondering how I can drive less; where I can get new wheels for the old bike I received as a birthday present. Pondering the feasibility of a future without flights. Weighing up my desire to separate from the capitalist system of selling time for money, when I’m the sole breadwinner, train tickets are costly, and we’re such a long way from true freedom from everything we buy.
And when all the thinking gets too much, circling back. Remembering.
This is the season of the body.
In Autumn, we’ll look at the harvest, remember what we’ve lost, decide what to take with us through the long night.
For now, it’s time to eat another peach, and wonder how much of the afternoon I can reasonably devote to napping.