Is it just me or do we all have slightly different perspectives as to how/when the seasons change?
For instance… we’re currently reaching the end of the “summer holidays” and many of you with children I’m sure will be making the most of the last few days before school routines return with the start of the “Autumn term”… as a child I was taught that “summer” lasted until we went back to school, but these days I’ve developed a different viewpoint – which Dave and I regularly disagree over!
For the past few weeks I’ve been noticing the nights closing in as it gets dark a little earlier each day… the slight chill in the mornings even when it turns out to be a beautiful sunny day… the fields are no longer green but filled with golden crops almost ready for harvest… blackberries are ripening whilst nuts and seeds start to fall from the trees. So many signs that nature has no interest in our pre-defined “seasons” and is happily moving into Autumn regardless. Is Autumn coming earlier or has it always been this way?
I’ve often felt a bit out of sorts in August, especially around the bank holiday… I’m wondering if it’s partly due to a conflict between my head that thinks it’s still summer, and my natural instinct which knows summer has long been fading and we should be preparing for winter! After-all, if we work on the basis that 21st June (summer solstice and longest day) is ‘mid-summer’ then logically summer lasts from May-July only.
How do you define the seasons? I’d love to know your thoughts!!
Scientists define the seasons in three different ways. Firstly by meteorological seasons – which are traditionally what we’ve been taught, so summer is June/July/August; Secondly using astronomical seasons – based on daylight hours, solstices and equinoxes – which match the pagan/celtic calendar and seem to suit my rhythms best; but perhaps the most truest way of looking at seasons is using phenology – which is the reaction of plants and animals to weather and climate… and this is changing on a global scale.
In the UK Spring is arriving earlier, winters are shorter and there are fewer days below freezing. These minor changes affect life-cycle events such as particular flowers blooming or pollinators emerging and can have huge impacts further along the food chain. The growing season (defined as when temperatures are consistently above 5 degrees) is now a whole month longer than it was in the 1960’s… which does have some advantages… however rising temperatures also bring mass flooding and extreme weather events which can devastate our food supplies.
This month the UN issued a “code red for humanity” in it’s report on climate change. I know for many this brings a fear for the future and the world our children will live in; anger towards the corporations who continue to pollute the seas and the air we breathe, and at the politicians who allow them to do so; and often a feeling of hopelessness – like we can’t make a difference on an individual level. I have given this much thought over recent weeks…
So often activism is based on what we are against, what we don’t like, what we don’t want… and yet we manifest what we focus on… so we are creating ever more of what we don’t like and want to change.Julia Butterfly Hill
This quote really struck me… if you know me, or follow this blog, you will know just how passionate I am about protecting our beautiful earth and all that lives on it. I have been occasionally prone to climate grief, anger and fear but I also agree that we create more of those things we give attention to. What if instead of feeding into the global catastrophes and fear-mongering media, or fighting those that appear to hold all the power to create change… what if we just quietly and peacefully focus on all that is great in the world and do more of that?
There’s already a revolution underway but it’s coming from the ground up… so gently that you wouldn’t know it’s there. A revolution of ordinary folk who are looking to nature for guidance, learning to feed and heal themselves, seeking comfort and strength in our wild spaces, sharing knowledge, changing habits, forging connections… and the more attention and support we give to these grass-roots projects the more they will grow and thrive.
Why not find out what’s already happening in your area? Wildlife groups, community gardens, zero-waste groceries, recycling projects, nature reserves, talks and walks… The list goes on! As I’ve said many times, when we look after nature it looks after us.
It’s too late to reverse what is already done but with changing attitudes we can begin to live more harmoniously with our changing climate and the changing seasons.
Until next time…
PS. Over the coming weeks I’ll be putting together my top tips for making simple eco-changes that can benefit both you and the planet! If this sounds like something you’d like to receive be sure to sign up with your email address below so you don’t miss out!
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