The Third Leader: Rites of spring

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The Independent Online

Seasonal confusion abounds, marked by the early arrival of hawthorn blooms on the ground and swifts in the air. Is spring the new summer? Is summer the old spring? Thus, does climate change alter our clichés as we bask in the sunshine, search for shade from leaves not quite there yet, and wait for the first chimes of the olde ice-cream van?

Everywhere, we are unkiltered. What, for example, is to become of the great canon of folklore celebrating May as summer's start? Ribboned poles, festooned mummers, hobby horses, general prancing about to shouts of "Oi!": all are stranded in the future. Clearly this gap must be filled until the green cause finally excites concerted action and we can exchange darling buds for showers, or at least save February.

Don't worry about artificial inventions: the Victorians came up with most of the May stuff, anyway. Here are some new, relevant traditions for April festivities: 1. The Dance of the Carbon Footprint. Dancers dressed as chimney sweeps perform in airport car parks, staring accusingly at travellers. 2. Throatgirtling the Wastrels. A Green Man goes from house to house on Mondays. Woe betide you if your plastics are mixed with your glass (involves organic treacle). 3. Unwrap Day. Highlights excessive packaging. The prettiest maid in the village bursts out of a box covered in cellophane and removes layer after layer to cries of "Worrr!" 4. Wormery Charming. Increases composting efficiency by reading worms passages from the Kyoto Protocol. 5. The Wicker Person. Alternative heat-source ceremony (not recommended for climate-change deniers). Come on!

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