After the solstice

Saturday morning, coffee in hand. Woken from a restless sleep, drifting in and out of muddled dreams while soft June rain watered the summer-dry world. It took a boisterous dog, a wide-awake husband and the smell of coffee to finally drag me out of bed. Even then, my foggy head went straight for my favourite sofa cushion, all plush and smooshy comfort. The coffee machine spluttered. Griffin strutted to and fro, wagging his tail. This is what Saturday mornings are for.

This week was bright hot sun and ice-water relief, post-workout headaches and late evening meetups, friends and blankets on grass in the calming sunset weather. But today is gentle and cool, and we open the door to let fresh post-rain winds blow in. A hint of green fields, somehow dry and damp all at once, and memories of camping; tents on wet grass, rain drops on canvas, cosy curled-up fleece mornings in fold-up chairs, hot tea to guard against the fickle British summer, make-your-own sandwich scrambled-egg breakfast-in-the-wild glory, then off to the woods or the beach or jumping into cool lakes and float on water, close my eyes and try to become part of nature, be so quiet and still and malleable that She might take me in and keep me.

Quarantine has turned a mirror on us all, but now it seems we have dealt with whatever we saw and we’re crawling out of our hideaways with some new-found focus, strength built from the rubble of our insecurities. We have faced ourselves and we survived. We have decided what’s important to us. We have had some time to think. We have slashed our machetes through the jungle of our pain and somehow found a way forward.

This month I’m doing another writing challenge with my group of storytellers. We set a word target and write together-apart, connecting online and sharing our successes and failures. It’s good to be back on track.

Through the living room window I admire the neighbours’ giant silver birch, rising over thirty feet and swaying in the damp dawn winds. That is summer to me – the whoosh of the breeze combing through its leaves, bringing it to life, blushing as it invites it to a slow dance. Beneath this proud birch is our modest little garden, which we have finally turned into our own little summer paradise.

To my right Griffin is snoozing obediently, knowing that Saturdays are slower than other days and walkies will wait a bit. In front of me sits the most beautiful boy in the world, and he’s always there to make my heart flutter and have me laugh so much that I have to lean on the furniture to steady myself.

Summer is here, and I feel alive, present, grateful. Fleur feels close; I can feel her wriggling under my skin, ready to hatch. She comes and goes, but for now, I’m holding on.