UpFront 08/22

Watering plants in the moonlight recently was a first for me; a new experience to add to my memories and one that, at the time, I mused might become common. It made me think of Philip Strange’s visit to see Luke Jerram’s ‘Moon’ at Exeter Cathedral (page 22). In his article, Philip highlights the Moon’s effect on our lives. The Moon is one of our environmental titans and he describes it as the ‘driver of tides’, reminding us how it sets up important rhythms that also influence migration and reproduction in the non-human world; it was the spectacular Buck Moon in mid-July that gave me the unusual opportunity to enjoy the garden at night. However, it was that other environmental titan, the Sun, which probably took most of the focus in July, with thousands of words written about the effects of climate change. But apart from causing discomfort, disruption, and in some cases tragedy, the recent ‘heatwave’ also led to some people reminiscing about their youth. Long days and hot weather can do that. In my case, I remembered lazy days swimming in the local river; fishing for trout in a stream called the ‘Pinkeen’, and running around a recently topped field dreaming I was in Wembley Stadium. Then it was home for banana sandwiches before rushing out for another Cup Final replay. Regardless of what generation you speak with, everyone seems to have a few rose-tinted memories of summer days. My mother often related stories of the slowness of life. One particular tale she told was about the morning sun waking her in the seat of the pony cart that she and my father had been driving home from a late-night dance. As the sun rose above the trees and the two young lovers dozed, the pony had stopped by the side of the road to enjoy a long, lazy breakfast. Most of these memories are due more to extended daylight than to extended sunshine, but they do convey a slower lifestyle; a time when there was less awareness of the damage being done to our environment. Today most people have moved beyond skepticism of climate change and in many cases denial has turned out to be a ploy to conceal other agendas. But watering in the moonlight did make me wonder how long it will be before future generations are robbed of such summer memories.