When the heather blooms: the end of summer

When the heather blooms: the end of summer September 8, 2014

August is a difficult month for me. I can’t write about it while it’s happening. It’s still summer, but the tang of autumn starts to flavour the air. The sun’s power wanes, the days get shorter, even as its rays are still warm and feel strong.

I love spring; I love summer; I love autumn; I love winter. But the liminal times between them, the transitional times — April, August, November, February — create a disturbing, confusing experience for me.

Partly, that’s due to the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder on my energy, and the way it exacerbates the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

But mostly, although relatedly, it’s due to how desperately I want to cling to the sun and the light.

As much as I appreciate this land and this place in all seasons, my heart and soul open and bloom, and my energy rises up, during the summer months, which here are May, June and July. Even when the weather is dreich and the temperatures never reach the teens Celsius, the days are long. There’s plenty of light, plenty of time.

It’s only when the clouds descend to arms’ reach of the hilltops that I feel in summer what I feel in winter — a slow, thick fog filling my head; lethargy, fatigue and pain filling my muscles; a sadness beyond melancholy filling my heart.

It takes me time to adjust, to say an unwilling goodbye to the life I can only have in summer, the life that most people take for granted.

I do my best to appreciate the land as it is, today, through all of that. Sometimes I sing about it; sing to it. It helps move the energy of the season through me; it helps me to settle into how things are, not how I would wish them to be.

This is a song I wrote some years ago about August, and revisited during the last month. It combines the love of the land and the place as it is during this liminal month, with the knowledge of the autumn and winter to come, and the longing for summer never to end.

I hope you enjoy.

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) by John Haslam
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) by John Haslam

When the heather blooms

Words and music © 2003 & 2014, Elinor Prędota

When the heather blooms
golden honey the sunlight;
when the heather blooms
waves of silver the grass;
when the heather blooms,
amethyst of the hills,
bright beauty, when the heather blooms.

When the heather blooms
summer’s end is starting;
when the heather blooms
green leaves stretch out their last;
when the heather blooms
berries and seeds all show
their beauty, when the heather blooms.

When the heather blooms,
autumn’s herald waiting;
when the heather blooms,
summer’s last bright flame,
purple of the hills, earth’s body adorning
in beauty, when the heather blooms.

When the heather blooms
curlew’s cries are fading;
when the heather blooms
swallows start looking south;
when the heather blooms,
heron’s calls are ’round the corner;
stark beauty, when the heather blooms.

When the heather blooms,
autumn’s herald waiting;
when the heather blooms,
summer’s last bright veil,
purple of the hills, earth’s body adorning
in beauty, when the heather blooms,
in such beauty, when the heather blooms.

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