The Eternal Season: Ghosts of Summers Past, Present and Future
*Shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s non-fiction book of the year*
Summer – the eternal season of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 – is a season that transcends its boundaries. It was while walking down the bank of the River Nith, one October day, day-dreaming about blackcaps, that what I thought I knew about the season was wrong. I was dazzled by hawthorn berries and the integral role summer had played in autumn’s bounty.
I had planned to go in search of summer, beginning in January with a blackcap in a gale in Liverpool, a chiffchaff in a Cornish blizzard… and then a pandemic put a halt to that. With all my plans cancelled, I was able instead to watch the long and slow unfolding of a summer, an exceptional summer of sunshine and heat and worry. I could watch the lengthening light, the leaves unfurling and the migrant birds arriving. These progressions become the rhythm of the season.
What happens when that goes wrong? When the rhythm falls out of sync?
The Eternal Season is a tracing out of the gap between what should be and what is happening. By looking at summer through wildlife, landscape and historical nature writing, it shows us how we can see, know and really feel what’s happening to nature now. It is a work of joy, despair, confusion, and ultimately, unexpectedly, hope. It is a biodiverse work, focusing on the trees, plants, dragonflies, butterflies, moths and arachnids that share the summer with our familiar birds.
Order at Waterstones or your local indie bookshop. If you can’t afford to buy a copy, please see if your local library has a copy.