The impossibility of seasons

This wet summer has me remembering dry days gone by, the sort of days when the sun evaporates the very idea of winter.

The grass and stone tracks of a byway stretch into the distance between golden fields.

It’s late August in my mind and we’re riding our bikes along a dusty byway. Combine harvesters churn through the laden fields beside us. They've been working since dawn, when they rumbled in the half-light along the road by our holiday cottage. The heat has ripened the crop and now the contractors must gather it before the weather turns. 

Farmers know summer is fleeting but for us it seems endless. The heat has driven damp winter days from our memories. Surely this baked ground was never sodden? Did we, just months ago, wrap ourselves up against the cold in woollen layers? And how can it be true that we will soon have to do so again? It can’t. It mustn’t.

A large square stack of golden straw bales stands in a corn field that has recently been harvested.

After a few miles we stop for a picnic in the shade of a spinney, leaning our bikes on a tall oak  before finding a place on the ground to sit where we can see the view beyond. We do it absentmindedly, not pausing to fear that the earth might be wet. This is the impossibility of seasons. We lose ourselves in their midst, unwilling – despite everything we know – to imagine their passing.

But pass they will, as everything does. And we must accept their passing. That is what the seasons are telling us, if only we would listen to them.