Running to catch up
Apropos of the previous post on Time, there was a sea fog this morning, smothering the silent shore and muffling the lapping waves in a blanket of white stillness. Walking along the beach was like being on the edge of the world.
My imaginary neighbour Mrs P (a staunch traditionalist where weather's concerned) has recently declared for the Nth time 'Everything's Upsidedown. You don't know where you are from one minute to the next - that's a fact.'
And indeed she has a point. At the beginning of May, there were still daffodils around and many trees were still bare. Crocuses apparently went missing completely and are still unaccounted for in some places. Even now, the feathered birches glisten in the weak morning sunlight with some buds still unfolded. It's as though Spring, like The White Rabbit in Alice, is running to catch up...
Scene: the stage is bare except for a tree with no leaves. The lights are low giving an impression of a dull, dank winter's day. The tree stirs slightly.
Enter Spring, running, breathless and dishevelled clutching a large pocket watch with tea dripping from it: 'Have I missed it?'
Tree: No, but we've missed you. We missed you last year as well. Had hot weather instead. And we missed Summer too. You need to get your acts together.
But perhaps Mrs P and the tree are being unreasonable. You can't possibly live in these islands and be a traditionalist about weather - unless perhaps you are traditional about the democractic right to drizzle.
Yet rain didn't come in summer/winter 2011. And after that we had too much very un-British water falling from the sky - more monsoon it was than the genteel drizzle we lovingly call our own. And you only need to juxtapose the quaint paintings of 17th century bonfires on the frozen Thames with the fact that grapevines and lobsters had flourished in the warmer mediaeval centuries, to know that weather and climate are possibly larger and more variable than we can predict - and that really you can't rely on them.
However the fog-horn is still sounding its melancholy lower B flat across the water. So in a way perhaps Mrs P is vindicated. We don't know where we are. And - in a sea-fog - that's a fact.