Summer fades and as it does so there is a hint of melancholy on the wind that makes all the days seem more precious. Soon the sunshine, that we have been blessed (or cursed, I suppose!) with this year, will be cold and the warmth gone. Accompanying this is a breeze that blows through the trees making the light hazy and yellow. It is times like these that tell us who we are. There is a connection between a person, what some might call his soul, and the living world; the world away from buildings, electricity, jobcentres and chemical weapons.
I am not religious. I abhor organised religions as systems of control that instil subservience and fear into people. We should not be afraid, though often we are. However I acknowledge the presence of what some might, in fluffy terms, call spirituality. I do not believe in new age philosophies; much of these beliefs are a kludge of older systems that now exist in syncretism; forms whose true natures are ignored by those that practice them. What matters to me is the world around me and how I fit into that.
So I suppose, in a strange way, that makes me a pagan. That is, someone who marks the passage of time through the seasons and in the cycle of years months and days. Some might do this with a nod to the supernatural, a goddess or a belief in Gaia. I’m not sure I’d subscribe to that, but the world is a living thing, a complex biosphere of interrelated forces and life forms. As I walk through the fading summer light I see the changes in the patterns of wildlife that thrive now, as the nature of their habitats and resources change with the seasons and the cycle of years months and days.
Maybe it’s a thing peculiar to our location on the planet; we go from a long day that stretches into the late night to a short one with very little daylight at all. Perhaps it’s unique to the weather and environmental patterns we have: rolling mists, driving rain, hot sun and winter snow. Four seasons in one day, month and certainly year.
Whatever it is on this island we pack ourselves onto there is something beyond our lives as regimented by TV schedules, trips to the supermarket and the drive to consume and provide for a system not of our choosing. This something is, in poetic terms, a living force that can tap on your window on a windy summer night, or invite you to stare at the stars in the shivering cold. It reveals itself in the falling autumn leaves that carpet the pavements lanes and gutters and tempts you with the promise of summer in late spring. No matter how much we threaten this natural order with fracking and a demand for poisonous energy sources, this spirit will never yield.