Spring is finally here! We’ve had to wait a while, due apparently to the fact that a jet stream got stuck in a southerly position, but it’s moved now and in the space of two weeks snow and sub-zero temperatures have given way to clear skies and sunshine. Here in the south-east of England, the trees are bursting into leaf and we have spring flowers at last.
This certainly isn’t the first time that Spring’s been delayed and it’s not the most catastrophic either. In 1816, the temperature in the Northern Hemisphere reduced dramatically as a result of the eruption of Mount Tambora, and in many places summer never came. July saw snow, frozen waterways, and failed crops, causing enormous suffering. The literature and art of the period reflects the weather conditions too – Byron and Shelley were living near Lake Geneva in 1816, and from that period comes Byron’s poem ‘Darkness’ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. Likewise, Turner’s glorious sunsets were real – a result of volcanic ash.
Even today, there are many places throughout the world, where the weather is a constant threat to people’s crops, their homes and their lives. And it’s estimated that 2 million people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder in the UK alone.
So I can count myself lucky that my own life is not usually influenced by the weather – being English I suppose it’s my duty to mention it at least once a day, but beyond that my reaction to good and bad weather is just to wear less (or more) and adjust the heating. I will admit to having been unsettled by this long wait for spring, though. Perhaps because things seemed out of kilter – somehow wrong for the time of year. Or perhaps because, for all our knowledge about why this happened, there was nothing that could be done about it, and no-one really knew when, or if, things were going to right themselves. We may like to think that we’re in control, but Mother Nature knows differently!
So how about you? Do you shine on sunny days, and feel gloomy when it’s cloudy? Or is the weather just something that’s going on outside your window when you get up in the morning? And – well, I’ve got to ask. How’s your weather today?