The love of summer

31 Jul

In spite of the views to the contrary I’ve expressed here, summer is not the enemy. I take everything back I said about it being the all too easy to love season, preferred by shallow people.

No summer must be earned too. While in France I saw a documentary on Vivaldi where the presenter, Stéphane Bern, explained why the final “summer” movement of the Four Seasons is the darkest of the lot. In the heat of Venice, summer meant suffering.

Here too, the sun beats down, it’s hot and humid, hungry bugs attack all exposed flesh and the evenings tend to explode into frighteningly intense electrical storms.

Because I heard distant rumblings of thunder, I headed out for today’s rollerski training right in the heat of noon.

When it’s so warm the body is relaxed, fluid and easy to move. It comes naturally to go hard because nature’s hot pulsing intensity rhymes with the feeling of life churning through your veins.

If spring makes one think of birth and childhood innocence, then summer is season when the body ripens into its vital maturity. Some of the best TV I’ve ever seen was a broadcast of the ballet choreographer Jo Strømgren wrote to accompany the Four Seasons:


His summer is hot, out of control and vibrating with an excess of energy. The crescendo is a sea of sexy, lightly-clothed, well-muscled bodies writhing frenetically as a bullfighter gets run over by a rampaging lawnmower.

Out today rollerskiing the heat and the distant thunder brought the whole scene back to my mind. Mine is dangerous sport, made violent by the hard impact of metal pole tips on the asphalt. There, wearing little and feeling alive in a hot sweaty body with power to burn, the scene from the ballet made perfect sense.

Alive, alive. Don’t hurry the days on by anticipating others. Stop, pluck the peach warm from the tree. Savour it. Let the sticky juices run down your chin and wrist. The snow I so desperately want will now be here all too soon:

THROUGH winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter’s best of all;
And after that there s nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come –
Nor know that what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.

(W.B. Yeats, “The Wheel”).


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