I wish I had not complained about those long sweaty nights



The summer begins to slip away from us from minute to minute, from hour to hour.

I see it in the fallen leaves and falling sun; the dark mornings and cooler days.

No canteens or bulging beer gardens, no smell of burning barbecue. I stopped googling "cheap fans" and "cotton sheets" – I even think it's time for the low-tog quilt to go.

I started sleeping with the window closed. I only wanted a few weeks ago to even the lightest breeze to swap the curtains and save me from the heatwave insomnia.

Summer sales no longer catch my eye: what do I have now on the maxi-skirt, or the half-price sandals?

I wish I had not complained about the sweaty nights and the sweltering car interior; the melting ice cream or the packed park.

Summer in Ireland can be magical – and this year it was exactly that.

Do not wait for the sun, do not look out of the window for the rain showers to stop, no impulse to buy last-minute sun holidays.

We had what looked like endless weeks of glorious sunshine. I brought it outside eating, walking with friends, basking my face in it and staying up late to just look at the enchanting pink skies.

Not once did I catch myself staring at the sky, struck by its beauty – it is clarity and it is simplicity as a gift; a little bigger and more powerful than anything that money would ever have bought.

It reminded me of all the summers of my youth, because of course it's the sunny days you remember, not the raining rain.

This summer felt like one of those Bruce Springsteen and Don McLean wrote about it, the kind of summer you see in the movies.

Lavender beauty

I will remember this summer as the one I spent watching the cityscape at dusk as I sat on top of the Papal Cross Hill in the Phoenix Park. It is the one I have spent on garden furniture with wine and food and family.

I will remember this summer as the one I stared at the sky and wondered at its lavender beauty and its sense of peace.

I wish I could save a little bit of it, and sparingly use those deep, dark winter days, while all I want is a postponement of the seclusion of a season that lives indoors.

Some people look forward to the cozy evenings, the lack of guilt about getting out, nights spent with hot drinks and thick knits.

I wish I was one of those people, because we probably get more of that kind of weather than the kind I crave.

However, I think it is in my blood, the desire for summer sun. My father needs his quota to revive himself, to help him with another year of work.

My mother manages all the most positive weather forecasts of the year, ignores the negative predictions and seizes them as a lifeline.

My grandmother also had that magnetic attraction until the summer; it opened in her a youthfulness and desire with every passing day.

Dark sunset

Every bell, every late twilight sunset, every bedding plant in bloom; they were a tonic for her.

I have felt that same drunkenness this summer; relished every minute, took joy from the freedom of a life outdoors, even if only for a while.

Now, at the end of August, the season feels like a fruit that has almost taken its best foot.

That is what makes the summer so special – its rarity and its transience make it a delicacy

As a banana whose skin has started to burst and turn black, the summer of 2018 is almost ready to say goodbye.

Seeing how everything slips away is a bit like finishing a book that you've been sucking over for weeks.

You've been here before, you knew it had to end. There were only so many evenings that you could spend ignoring reality and burying your head in another world.

There is washing to do, to get to sleep, to work to throw yourself in – and that is also a good thing.

Life goes on

But the book – and this summer – was your companion, your rabbit hole, your escape, and now it's gone and life goes on.

It comes back, but not for a while. That is what makes summer so special – its rarity and its transience make it a delicacy, one to enjoy and to absorb.

Summer is a release from the trick of a long, cold, dark winter. It is like throwing your hat, coat and scarf when you enter the door of a long day.

This summer was a gift, one that I'm grateful for – but I'm still sad to see how it goes.


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