That we’re already heading back into the darkness of winter, before we’ve even had a chance to take in the light, feels like a seasonal whiplash

That we’re already heading back into the darkness of winter, before we’ve even had a chance to take in the light, feels like a seasonal whiplash

Remember plans? The things you frequently made, often cancelled, and always revelled in someone else pulling the plug on. They filled up diaries and calendars, taking in days, evenings and weekends; giving our lives moments of interest and peaks of excitement outside of the monotony of the 9-5 working day.
Summer is the very definition of plan-making time. The longer days, and warmer temperatures are made for drinks, dinners, a glass of wine that turns into a bottle, long nights, exploration, road trips, festivals and holidays. The universe gives us more hours of daylight, practically begging us to do something we regret or spend too much money on. It is the mental fodder to sustain us through winter.
Of course summer isnt just about the weather. Any Brit knows the season cannot be defined by a meteorologist alone. The season is a state of mind; that feeling of the doors being flung open at the end of a school term that stays with you way beyond your last day of education. It taps into our inner child, promising a period of respite (even the politicians get one). Summer feels like freedom, unexplained grass stains, the perfect window of time to have an adventure.
Except in 2020. This year has been characterised by its total lack of freedom. The UK-wide lockdown, which began on 23 March in a bid to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, took away all individual autonomy ensuring we stayed at home, and protected the NHS. We quickly put our diaries away and learned to deny ourselves that freedom for the greater good.
In a personal trade-off we made with ourselves and each other we all imagined the better days to come something that was easy to do in the last dark days of winter. We had the rest of the year to make up for lost time, and besides we all had 20 loaves of sourdough to keep us busy.
But as we reach August June and July behind us many are coming to the realisation that the carrot on the end of the very-long pandemic stick is actually a fantasy. The summer we dreamed of, that would be wilder and more celebratory than ever before, is the stuff of fiction. Now politicians are talking in terms of summer 2021 when we can finally expect to be Covid-free.
All of a sudden I am bereft at the disintegration of the summer before our very eyes. As someone who doesnt even love summer that much (obviously autumn days are the perfect weather), I suddenly feel so shortchanged, knowing our collective fate without it needing to be said. We all sit, impotent, as the days begin to draw in again, the nights get a little earlier, minute by minute. Knowing we can do nothing but watch.
But how do we mourn a summer we never even had the chance to start? Becoming an adult and realising that you arent owed a six-week holiday is a difficult lesson to learn (and mid-year burnout is a well-documented phenomenon) but my sadness isnt about not being able to take a literal pit-stop to refuel, its that the world will not wait for us.
The prospect of another lockdown as we approach winter, without having felt the sun on our skin, feels like the cruellest trick of 2020 so far…
That were already heading back into the darkness of winter, before weve even had a chance to take in the light, feels like a seasonal whiplash. Like when your mum comes to pick you up from a friend’s house before the fun has even started. Despite some restrictions starting to ease, many in the UK still feel trapped by worry; fear of a second wave; of becoming ill; of a new normal to navigate. (And of course some, like those shielding and the elderly, still are literally stuck at home waiting for the promises of a vaccine).
If summer has always been about giving humans, animals, nature, and the planet, time to grow and recoup after the harsh struggles of winter, this year feels were diving back in half-prepared. The prospect of the need for another lockdown as we approach winter, without having felt the sun on our skin, feels like the cruellest trick of 2020 so far.

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