As we edge towards autumn/winter , I’m always hit with a familiar sort of heaviness that the summer months are once again drawing to a close. This year feels particularly heavy because most of us have had a very different kind of summer experience…
Plans cancelled, friends out of reach, and general anxiety or guilt about those rare moments of socialising that we have managed to enjoy. In many ways, I’m grateful for the stillness that summer 2020 strictly presented itself with. It’s forced me to reconsider what summer means to me, and helped me to seek happiness in the most mundane of places.
When I look back on this summer I’ll think of sweaty bike rides by the canal, sitting in the park with a blanket (wondering what thoughts other solitary people around me are having), and sunbathing in my Mum’s back garden for the first time in years…
I’m trying to look at this summer as a different one rather than a disappointing one. I may not have got to swim in the sea (something I love to do at least once a year), or feel sand between my toes, but I’ve definitely experienced a kind of heat that feels memorable. This summer has left me trying to imagine my future more than ever before – the kind of person I want to be, the kind of life I want to live, and the kinds of people I want around me. It’s like this little fire has been lit within me, and I feel angry, and passionate, and hopeful all at once. I feel rage but I also feel immense love. I feel withdrawn but also a complete willingness to help create change. Conflicting feelings that I’m still muddling through, but ones that I hope are changing me for the better – this summer has been hot and uncomfortable but also strange and beautiful.
I guess I always feel a bit blue at this time of year – it feels like this unavoidable part of me that just instantly reacts as soon as the gloomier days draw in and the sandals are stuffed away for another season. I guess in some bittersweet way, the summer months helped a lot of us deal with the darkness of the pandemic and made everything feel a bit warmer and lighter. The longer days and the soaring temperatures were the tonic that encouraged many of us to drift away into our dream worlds and switch off from the world around us. Autumn/winter carries with it this element of pathetic fallacy when it comes to the nature of this pandemic – grey dystopian-esq scenes from our windows, masks lying limply in the rain, shorter days with darker evenings.
I think it’s always a stark reminder that our routines will inevitably have to change with the season, and many of us have already dealt with an overwhelming amount of change this year. When I find myself feeling daunted by the uncertain months that lie ahead – I take comfort in the fact we are strong and adaptable. We have proven that we are capable of building little universes to survive in from our homes, and we will always search for new things to find joy in – no matter how gloomy the days become.
Photographs taken on film
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