Seasonal effects

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Midsummer already! It must have been the rain, and all that deep and gripping political excitement: whatever, our ancient rhythms and traditions seem a little muted this year. So it is good to be reminded of the eternal cycles, life and death, sowing and reaping; good to celebrate the solstice.

Midsummer already! It must have been the rain, and all that deep and gripping political excitement: whatever, our ancient rhythms and traditions seem a little muted this year. So it is good to be reminded of the eternal cycles, life and death, sowing and reaping; good to celebrate the solstice.

For century upon century, Britons have gathered in sacred places to greet the solstice dawn. As the hours of darkness have passed, anticipation has built through ritual and ceremony until the moment has come, and no one has been able to see a damn thing because it's too cloudy. Many of our leading characteristics have been attributed to this annual anticlimax: the reserve, the gloomy humour, the courage in the face of adversity and disappointment.

But this year there has been talk of clear skies and the first midsummer rays striking rapt, upturned faces, sparking a leap of the soul, a spring in the step, smiles, even merry whistles. Sounds ghastly. Happily, the forecast is bound to have been wrong.

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