Summer is traditionally a time of plenty, of warmth, of breeding; a time to celebrate the abundance of nature teeming in our hedgerows, cities, marshlands and woodlands. But in the twenty-first century, 'summer' is becoming harder to define. The changing climate is bleeding our traditional distinctions into one another. Last February held days as warm as August. Or was it the other way around?
Against the anxious backdrop of the global pandemic, Stephen Rutt seeks comfort and reassurance from nature in full bloom. But within his evocative exploration of the landscapes and wildlife that characterise the British summer, he also notes the disturbance to the traditional rhythms of the natural world: the wrong birds singing at the wrong time, the disruption to habitats and breeding, the myriad ways climate change is causing a derangement of the seasons.
The Eternal Season is both a celebration of summer and an observation of the delicate series of disorientations that we may not notice while some birds still sing, while nature still has some voice, but that may be forever changing our perception of summer.