Looking at snow it’s hard to imagine August

“Look at how green and sunny the garden looks,” I say, proffering my phone to hubs and forcing him to look at an image of verdant abundance from the back end of last summer. “It’s hard to imagine it looking like that,” I continue, “when it’s so frozen and wet, and dead-looking at the minute,” warming to my theme.

It’s an idea that I came across recently while reading Weatherland by Alexandra Harris, a fabulously written book that will have you looking out at the clouds and appreciating the weather through the eyes of artists and writers over the centuries. One sentence, early on, stuck in my head, about the difficulty of imagining the idea of August in the winter. It’s a theme the author returns to at the end of the book when she writes about climate change. Logical really, in a book about the British weather, that she would end her book about our relationship to our weather with a chapter on how it will change in the future. Not if, but how. She also posits the suggestion that it’s our inability to imagine August in the cool shadows of March that is leading to our collective head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change, that it’s so hard to imagine being in one sort of weather when you are currently enjoying another. I think she may have a point. I’m sitting next to my patio window bathing in double-figure sunshine, just two days ago we had blizzard conditions; in the snow I was unable to imagine the warmth and in the sunshine I’m unable to imagine the sounds of hailstones and snow battering against the window. A bit like being unable to recall one tune while listening to another. But this may have to change, as will our relationship to and writing about our weather.

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