So here we are again, the longest day in what has felt like the longest 18 months. Walking around the loch yesterday so close to midsummers, we thought we would be surrounded by light. Instead, it was grey clouds reflecting on the loch. Where was all that promised extra daylight?
Bird song seemed to dim as we trudged along. The silence felt so thick. It was as if we were wading through twilight instead of 10.30 in the morning. Then I saw it, sunshine yellow blazing through the gloom. A true sign of summer. An iris towering out of the water and lightening up the world.
The yellow flag iris screams to me of the highlands and islands. It can be found on many an isle, in tiny lochan to the big stand-alone lochs. Like a lot of wild plants at one time, it was widely used and in various ways. It could be argued that its usage was environmentally friendly. Root to flower, our predecessors found a way of utilising it, from dying cloth and tweeds to medicinal purposes. Tales and folklore grew as tall as its stem.
Of course, you will have also noticed the duck that photo bombed my picture. I’ve not seen that many ducklings at all this year. So it was either bad timing on my part or that cold weather we had in May. My ducking count this year has been adversely affected.
Saturday, and I ventured up the street. It is not something I have done much in the last 18 months but the local market was on. People were out, generally enjoying seeing one another. Unlike winter, when a quick ‘hello’ is followed by a race inside, seeking shelter from the northern winds, people waited around, enjoying the atmosphere.
Children mingled together while their parents caught up with news from friends. Locals stood a safe distance from each other and investigated what was on offer from the stalls. Others, myself included bumped into old friends and chatted for a while, catching up on long-forgotten events.
The sunshine was reluctant that afternoon. Rain helped by a breeze hardly blew in thoughts of a hot summer. However, that relaxed and sociable feeling prevailed. No one was in a hurry. Summer weather might not have been available but its flavour scented the air.
The first thing that will be said to me tomorrow, will be that the nights are drawing in again, as we have passed the longest day. I can ignore that, as I know there will be plenty of long late nights with sunshine flowing through them over the next few weeks.
Summer, like all the other seasons, has a special feel about it. Bright flowers flood our vision and lazy days turn into gentle nights. June is just the opener to this lovely season. I look forward to the next few months with optimism and hopefully lots of nice warm weather.
I don’t have yellow flag iris in my garden and the next time I go to the loch their quick bloom will be over. They will be replaced though with lovely rich shades of green and hopefully some raspberry reds.
As to the ducklings, well, they will be full grown soon and like their parents, marching up the path to greet us, hoping for some food. Unless you look closely you wouldn’t be able to distinguish them from the adults.
I hope the summer feels as long as the last 18 months. I hope we all get a chance to bathe in the sunshine and relax under clear blue skies. Mostly, I hope we find the time to re-energise and reconnect with each other and all the people and the many places we have missed.
I hope you find your yellow iris and the time to enjoy this amazing season. Have a great summer whatever the weather brings. I will spend it once more writing, walking, and thinking I should probably water the garden.