Friday, 21 March 2014

Old Winters and the Sound of Summer.

The weather is cooling here in Britain at the moment. When I fetched the bird feeders in at dusk this evening, there was a distinct bite to the blustery breeze – not unseasonal, but unfamiliar after the mild winter and the balm of an early spring. When I felt something cold touch my face, I realised there was hail in the air.

And then what do you think I heard? A bumblebee. Is there any sound more redolent of summer than the hum of a bumblebee?

After dinner I settled by the fire to watch one of the few TV programmes I make a point of watching nowadays: Transatlantic Sessions on BBC4. It’s a series of jamming sessions by some of the most famous names in Celtic music, and was first attempted back in about 2000. I remember Mel and I watching it one New Year’s Eve around about then. It’s definitely winter viewing, and the warm fireside compliments it well.

At one point Julie Fowlis sang one of my favourite songs. It features on an album of hers that I used to listen to while I was falling under the spell of The Mists of Avalon, back in the winter of 2010-11 and also sitting by a warm fireside. It took me back to those early exchanges with the Priestess who was already under the spell of Mists, before she and I both decided – each for own quite different reasons – that we could no longer afford one another.

So that sets the tone of the moment: old memories, old faces, and Old Man Winter serving a little of his own fare this late in the year. But I wonder how the poor bumblebee is faring.

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