Last year summer was something of a non-event. Wet, wet, wet and cold. Then we had a long, rainy winter followed by a spring that frankly seemed to be struggling. Normally I get excited by every little sign that spring is here - the buds, the flowers, the nest-building, the lambs in the fields. One after another, the little signs follow eachother in an ongoing rush until spring slips easily into summer.
Yet this spring every flower and sign of new growth seemed hard-won. The chilly days and nights held everything back, and I almost felt like it could all be withdrawn, taken away at any time. The signs of spring were there, yet spring seemed so far away, somehow.
Just about Beltane - the Celtic first day of summer - almost overnight the weather turned warm and sunny. And it continues warm and sunny. There has also been some gentle rain - and a couple of impressive thunderstorms, all of which have kept the earth nice and moist. But for the most part it continues warm and sunny. Very warm, very sunny. Not spring warm and sunny, but summer warm and sunny. So, warm sun + moist earth = Kaboom!!!
The earth has exploded from a standing start straight into summer. Sparsely-sprigged branches suddenly have leaves! Bare earth in the veggie plot is sprouting weeds so fast the growth is almost visible moment to moment. The flowering cherry burst into blossom, which lasted mere days before dropping. The last of the daffodils and primulas which still hung on late into the cool spring are suddenly usurped by bluebells, red campion, Queen Anne's lace, summery aquilegias and foxgloves. They look stunned by the sudden turn around. I know how they feel.
Swallows and martins swoop delightedly around the house. Slowworms like ropes of burnished metal bask in the sun. Bees bumble and butterflys flutter. Cats search for shade. I walk barefoot through the warm, wet grass!
And the last reverberations of the great Kaboom! die away, as spring, caught with her pants down, gives way to summer at full throttle.