There’s a big difference between the weather summary and summery weather, but today they seem to coincide, with quite a bit of sunshine expected and temperatures predicted to reach nearly 20º.
This isn’t at all the sort of weather I was used to when I lived in Spain, where summer was a dull aching red that lasted from March through to October: here in England, even the hottest days start off blue and fresh and daisy clean.
There’s a lovely description of early morning in Lewis Galantière’s translation of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone. I must have read it first over 40 years ago and it has stayed with me:
NURSE. Where have you been?
ANTIGONE. Nowhere. It was beautiful. The whole world was gray when I went out. And now-you wouldn’t recognize it. It’s like a post card: all pink, and green, and yellow. You’ll have to get up earlier, Nurse, if you want to see a world without color.
NURSE. It was still pitch black when I got up. I went to your room, for I thought you might have flung off your blanket in the night. You weren’t there.
ANTIGONE (comes down the steps). The garden was lovely. It was still asleep. Have you ever thought how lovely a garden is when it is not yet thinking of men?
NURSE. You hadn’t slept in your bed. I couldn’t find you. I went to the back door. You’d left it open.
ANTIGONE. The fields were wet. They were waiting for something to happen. The whole world was breathless, waiting. I can’t tell you what a roaring noise I seemed to make alone on the road. It bothered me that whatever was waiting wasn’t waiting for me. I took off my sandals and slipped into a field. (She moves down to the stool and sits.)
NURSE (kneels at ANTIGONE’s feet to chafe them and put on the sandals). You’ll do well to wash your feet before you go back to bed, Miss.
ANTIGONE. I’m not going back to bed.
NURSE. Don’t be a fool! You get some sleep! And me, getting up to see if she hasn’t flung off her blanket; and I find her bed cold and nobody in it!
ANTIGONE. Do you think that if a person got up every morning like this, it would be just as thrilling every morning to be the first girl out of doors?
Antigone must have been out earlier than I usually am, but when I do manage an early morning walk, it’s usually inspirational, producing either poetry or photographs.
When the dew lies cool in the day’s eyes, beyond
the umbelliferous lace of napkin fields
morning horses toss and fret, and rooks stalk
among the stubble. […]
You can read the rest of that abandoned poem – and a little about the story behind it – in the post Before breakfast.
The flowers in that photo are quite tall and straggly, so I think they must be ox-eye daisies, but it always seems that the little Bellis perennis – the common or English daisies – scattered close across dark suburban lawns, are a kind of earth-bound reflection of the stars.
With that in mind, let’s end with a piece that takes a rather circuitous route from the mooncat through to the mundane station clock via Sirius, the dog star, and some quite summery images of lazy mornings and deckchairs, scattering a few daisy petals en route:
Cat, dog, fish, flowers
The mooncat has snagged
the kapok stuffing
from the cushion of the sky
and ravelled it
like wool between her claws.
In a half-dismantled kennel, Sirius
loiters in his dreams of postmen,
bold letters and history enamelled
into coffee-morning insignificance.
Sideways carp widdershin
in criticism of striped deckchairs;
they back-comb canvas thoughts, smoke
endless French cigarettes and flick ash
across the headlines to smudge
the limits of bourgeois opinion.
My pillow leaks
a mantra of the edge-phenomenon
of even daisy petals counted
on an abacus and spun
and hung to dry, circumferential
to the station clock.