The mood has changed and things have moved on. Spring, which has been ‘all in a rush with richness‘ has now calmed down and settled into the warmth of the ‘lazy days’ of summer.
Summer verdure is everywhere—a glorious season of lush growth, beautiful flowers and fruitfulness. Distant views are now masked by the more restrained greens of summer, giving us a feeling of being comfortably embraced by foliage. We’re closed-in with a sense of security and well-being as we enter these cool leafy summer lanes.
At last, with a sense of relief and freedom after being shut indoors through a cold winter and spring it’s now a pleasure to be outside in the fresh air, to hear the sounds and see the beauty beyond our four walls and double glazing. We sense we have been missing something vital during the past days of confinement.
The hum of insects tells us it’s summer. It’s a time of long evenings, with shadows slowly lengthening, when we watch the sun gradually sink below the horizon followed by brilliant sunsets. (What a pity God doesn’t sign his sunsets like J.R. Turner. More might take notice of Him then). The elusive evening scents of flowers designed to attract the moths delight us as their glorious fragrance wafts through the garden, catching us by surprise.
We remember the words that introduce the First Movement of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony: ‘Awakening of pleasant feelings on arriving in the country‘.
We’re so grateful for the changing seasons of our lovely British countryside. We’re part of an annual drama in four ‘Acts’, each with so many rich ‘Scenes’. It’s such a pleasant performance to watch. We’re so glad to be part of it and once again be taken up in the glory of the countryside as spring turns to summer.
“The joy of elevated thoughts..”
This is how Wordsworth describes the inspiring influence that nature had upon him. In a modern age that’s not noted for such things, we turn aside thoughts of the ‘sad still music of humanity‘ and instead, ‘elevate’ our minds and lift our spirits to rejoice in the wonder of Creation and the glory of its Creator and Sustainer.
‘For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply inter-fused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world..
From the poem ‘Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the banks of the Wye’.
With the Lark Ascending
If Spring makes us ‘dance with the daffodils’ (to use Wordsworth’s words), then summer will make us want to fly with ‘the lark ascending’ (to use Vaughan Williams’ expressive phrase). It is time to set our minds upon higher things and join with the lark as it sings its lofty song of joy.